Actor Mike Domenyy brings a version of the Christmas story to life with his engaging performance of Luke 2.
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1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 ( And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 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. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 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. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 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. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it , they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. 21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; 23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) 24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. 25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. 33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. 34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. 36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; 37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. 39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. 40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. 41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. 43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it . 44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. 45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. 49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? 50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
When a brand introduces a new product, it’s common practice to provide advanced copies to influencers, whose opinions hold a lot of weight with a lot of people. The influencers get a first look at the new product, and go public with their announcement. The success of a new product depends on getting as many eyes on it as possible, so brands prioritize inviting the rich, the famous, and the powerful.
Two thousand years ago, it was no different. Kings, governors, judges, priests, and the religious elite held tremendous influence in their regions. The success of any up-and-coming figure or new way of thinking would rise and fall on the endorsement of these powerful groups in their high-walled cities.
It’s shocking, then, that when God introduced the long-awaited Messiah, whom the Jewish people had been anticipating for hundreds of years, his first invitation announcement was to a group of outcast shepherds well outside the city limits.
Eight days later, when Jesus’ family visited the political and religious hub of Jerusalem, another invitation was given to an old man with no apparent connections in the city. Their meeting attracted no other attention but that of an old widow who never left the temple.
These invitations to see a baby born to a poor family, on top of the fact that the next recorded story of Jesus occurred twelve years later, and then again eighteen years after that, shows that God did not intend to play by the typical rules of social influence. Yet Jesus grew up to be the most influential figure in all of history.
Today, we are ourselves unlikely influencers in this grand invitation to meet Jesus. Because he was first announced to the outcast, the messy, the irrelevant, and the poor, we can approach him no matter our state. And we have been entrusted with sharing the good news about him to whoever is in our circle of influence.
This presentation quotes Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Mike Domeny is a speaker and performer who helps people engage with the Bible in a conversational, approachable way through short-form videos, online resources, and live presentations.
Mike founded Outloud Bible Project to help people recognize their role in the conversation of the Bible by reading the Bible out loud on screen and on stage. He is the author of Thrown off Script, which draws on his decade of professional improv experience to help readers recognize unexpected changes as opportunities to grow closer to Jesus. He co-founded The Grove: Kingdom Creativity Collective to nurture and equip creative Christians to pursue their God-given mission.
"Everything you need to live a fulfilling, impactful life can be found in the Bible."-Mike Domeny