Joy at Christmas, Part Three

Grace For The Journey

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24Dec  The “official” start of the Christmas season is the day after Thanksgiving.  As soon as we finish eating the Thanksgiving turkey, the world rushes right into Christmas.  Of course, there’s nothing wrong with starting the celebration of our Savior’s birth a little early!  But, does businesses pushing up the Christmas “shopping season” every year make it feel like a celebration?

For many the Christmas season is not one filled with celebration and joy.  Instead, it’s often a season of unmet expectations, sadness, disappointments, and way too much busyness.  In the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, we tend to lose sight of what’s important.

Today’s blog is a reminder of why we celebrate Christmas.

Here’s a quick hint . . .

Joy to the world!

The Lord has come!

The first topic of advent focuses on the prophets and how their message created hope in God fulfilling His promise through the birth of Jesus Christ.  The second topic focuses on God’s love being displayed through humble and simple mean in the events surrounding Bethlehem.  In today’s blog we will look at the shepherds who first heard the good news and learn about the joy that Christ’s coming brings.

The Bible says in Luke 2:8-10,

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”

Can you imagine what the shepherds felt on that glorious evening?  Shock, fear, excitement, …?

Even though they were fearful at the angels’ arrival, their fear dissipated when they heard the good news – a Savior has been born!

Their joy and excitement caused them to want to confirm this wonderful news.  The Bible tells us about that in Luke 2:15-16,

“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.”

When they heard the news, “They hurried off!”

As we inch closer to the celebration of Jesus’ birth, I pray that . . .

You are filled with

The same joyful

Anticipation that will

Cause you to

“Search the Scripture daily”

To confirm the wonderful

Truths about Jesus.

You’ve probably grown up knowing there were shepherds who visited the manger.  In fact, they appear in most nativity sets, but there is more to this story.

What you may not have realized is God chose to announce the birth of the Savior to shepherds for a good reason.

You see, shepherds were not “anything special” during these times.  They were poor, dirty, and not respected. Yet, God chose to announce the arrival of the Messiah to them first!  Plus, the shepherds were among the first to share the good news of Jesus’ arrival with the rest of the world!

This is good news for the rest of us.  We don’t have to be “anything special” by the world’s standards to receive the gift of Jesus either.  The Bible affirms this in 1 Corinthians 1:26-27,

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”

Jesus brought great joy for all people.  The angel announced in Luke 2:10-12,

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

The good news was

The Savior of the world.

He came to rescue us from the penalty of sin’s death. Through Jesus, God has given all people a chance to be forgiven and loved eternally.  This alone is why Christians experience joy no matter what’s happening in their lives.

The famous Christmas hymn “Joy to the World” begins with these words, “Joy to the world! The Lord has come! Let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare Him room.”  Have you ever given thought to those words as you sing them?

Since this time of the year is a season for anticipating the coming of the Savior, this song is a wonderful reminder of what we should be doing during this time of anticipation.

We should

Prepare our hearts

For the Savior!

If you have never given your heart to Jesus, let this time of the year be the most important one of your life by preparing room in your heart for Christ.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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