Luke 2:1-6 (NIV)
The Birth of Jesus
1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register. 4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
The text was written by Phillips Brooks (1835–1893), an Episcopal priest, rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia. He was inspired by visiting the village of Bethlehem in 1865. Three years later, he wrote the poem for his church and his organist, Lewis Redner, added the music.
This has long been my favorite Christmas carol. HERE is “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” sung by the King’s College Choir.
5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
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Colossians 1:15-20 (NLT)
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth.