Reading:  Luke 2: 1-7                     English - Vivien   Chinese - Barbara

The Birth of Jesus Christ
1  In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled.
2  This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
3  And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city.
4  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
5  to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
6  And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered.
7  And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

COMMENTARY                                - Katty

The images which surround this story make us forget the pain and hardship experienced by Joseph and Mary during this time.  These were probably the worst possible circumstances in which to be born.  Firstly, it was the middle of winter.  Maybe snowing, but still bitterly cold.  Then, Mary, who is 9 months pregnant has to travel about 60 miles, probably on the back of a donkey.  This would have been a very risky journey, and both Joseph and Mary must have been worried that the baby might come early.

Then, when they arrive at Bethlehem, all the hotels are full.  When that happens in Hong Kong, we just telephone all the hotels until we find a spare room.  We do not know how many hotels there were in Bethlehem (probably not too many), but Joseph and Mary would have been forced to go from door to door, asking for a room.

Finally, one hotel manager offered them a stable.  And so Jesus, the Son of God, was born.  Not in a clean hospital ward like most of us.  Not even in his parents' home, like some of us. Not even in a clean hotel room,  Jesus was born in a dirty stable, where horses and pigs lived.  It was probably the worst possible place to have a baby.

Yet God chose this special way to become human.  God's love for us is so great that he wanted to show his willingness to become like the poorest and lowliest among us.  Almost everything about his birth is a sign that he wanted to be like the most poor and disadvantaged.  The King of Heaven had come to live among the poor of earth.


PRAYER ( say together )
Loving Heavenly Father, we praise you that you gave up all the advantages of God, to become the lowest of men.  Help us to follow your example in service to the poor.
In Jesus' Name we pray. A-men