(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)
20th December 2008
As we saw last time, an angel appeared to the shepherds on the nght that Jesus was born, saying "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." He then said:
This was hard for the shepherds to understand. Christ the Lord Ė the Messiah that had long been prophesied Ė was not expected to be wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger! (A manger was an animalís feeding through). Itís hard to believe that Godís Anointed One would be born so humbly.
But part of the good news of great joy is that fact that God the Son can identify with us in our problems. He knows about poverty, and rejection, and the insults that can come to the illegitimate, and the frustration of living in an occupied country. Jesus was born in a stable, He was refugee when still a baby, he was alone in the desert for 40 days, and he was falsely charged and executed.
The angels were full of joy. In the birth of Jesus, God was glorified and peace was offered to all people. The angels were so full of joy about this good news that they appeared to the shepherds, praising God on the hillside.
And, dear Christian brother or sister, let me ask: Are you full of joy?
We can be so weighed down with cares and worries that we forget that God has sent Jesus to us. The everyday stuff of life can rob us of the joy of our salvation. In the parable of the sower, Jesus said:
Letís return with our whole hearts to Jesus Christ. Letís get our priorities right. Let's rejoice, that is, celebrate, the good news of Glory to God and peace to men. And let's resolve to give our lives in service to God's glory and man's peace. As the old song has it:
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Joy to the world, the Saviour reigns!
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And, non-Christian friend, if you haven't heard this good news before, or if you've heard it but never taken it seriously, then let me say that it's not too late. You too can find the peace of God. You too can have your heart transformed so that you can celebrate the good news of great joy. The angel said it's for all the people - including you!