The Linus Papers

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town.

Because the world is obsessed with its numbers. Because power takes polls and counts, finding comfort in masses and multitudes. Because Caesars and kings and rulers of this world take only their own affairs into account and not the impact of their decrees on the poor and the humble. Because we are often not considered valuable people with important lives to those in power but only signatures on licenses and numbers on forms and pins on maps. And little has changed since the time of this night in Bethlehem but neither has our God so we are not at the mercy of rulers and kings though it may feel that way sometimes . . .

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

Repeatedly through the Bible, while great historical events are noted, the stories God chooses to spend time telling are those of individual lives and choices set against monumental times. He reminds us that all of His-story comes down to one – one woman who says “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” One man willing to open himself to God’s dream for the world at the sacrifice of his own dreams. God reminds us at every step of their donkey toward Bethlehem that He is less interested in, less concerned with earthly kings than with one humble soul surrendered to His plan.

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

God the Father has such perfect confidence in His own ability that He surrendered His Son to this evil, filthy, disease-ridden, crime-burdened planet in the form of a helpless, squalling infant in the care of a poor, unknown couple. The dragon was determined to destroy the babe but the dragon is no match for God the Father. He testifies to His own strength by entering the world completely vulnerable yet unafraid. We, too, can have this perfect confidence in His ability to protect us no matter where He sends us to be lights for Him and to represent His Son. We are as safe within His will as a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

He didn’t send His angels to the palace to appear to Herod or to the homes of the nobles. He didn’t send His Son into a time when there was Twitterfeed and global media. His messengers visited those forgotten, those considered expendable, those runts of their household litters out doing their job in the dark of night. The king of glory entered into a stage of humanity where word of mouth was the mass media. So when the angel said this good news of great joy will be for ALL the people, that is underscored by its initial recipients’ place in this world. And He showed us the power to spread this good news is within our grasp because any of us can tell our neighbor. He calls us now to represent this news to ALL the people. Look around you this week – these are your assignments, the people for whom Jesus came.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

And we long for this peace on earth. And sometimes it eludes us, even His people. But when we remember who He is, when we stop long enough to remember His power, His glory, His creativity, His awesome wisdom, and His lavish love. When we look up from those things that consume us – the sheep, the census taking, the busy-ness, the powerful rulers and the ever-raging dragon – when we pause to consider Him, we recover this peace that is our inheritance through Jesus whom we celebrate. Then we affirm the words of the prophet Isaiah who said, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

Then we stand with Linus in complete security in our Father God because that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. May we live and rest in this truth on Christmas and in every minute of the year to come.

If you haven’t heard Linus give his Christmas speech yet this year, you can hear it HERE. May we all remember our awe of our Father God in the days to come.

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