Everyone’s eyes were wide… including my mom’s, my big brother’s, and my three older sister’s eyes. It was as if this news story, more than any other story, was breaking news being told for the first time, again. What made it even more credible was the reporter was my Dad and so we listened more intently. Oh - we were anxious to discover what would come after this story, but for a few short minutes the earth would stand still for the report and we would listen the whole time moving from face to face watching each other’s responses to the news…
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 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, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Luke 2:1-20 (King James Version)
There would not be a commentary, a sermon, or lesson that followed the breaking news… just a simple heart-felt prayer (often through tears) from my Dad who thanked God for sending his Son Jesus at Christmas so that we could be saved from our sins. Following the Amen…Christmas gifts!!! The reward of the news story we had just heard would be played out now on each one of us. To be individually loved and blessed because of this news story.
It is years later that I recognize the great sacrifice that my Mom and Dad made (a weekly deposit into a Christmas Club account that they could not afford to miss) and the annual outpouring of rewards given in love to their five kids. There was a subtle but deep meaning behind that simple breaking news story spoken before the gifts were opened that ensured each Christmas was a reminder of the day Jesus arrived as the greatest reward!
I want to encourage you to take the time before the rewards to tell your kids, your grandkids, your friends, yourself the Breaking News: What happened next is unbelievable!
See you Christmas Eve at 5 or 10 pm!