Summary: The joy of the Lord comes from choosing to follow the Christ child like the shepherds did.
Experiencing the Joy of Christmas
In keeping with the Advent season;
We have looked at the good news
We have looked at the hope we have in Christ
And this week we will look at Joy.
Again, I want to use Luke account in Luke 2 with the shepherds and the angels having a God moment.
We saw that was truly good news to a dying world that God would send His Son Jesus to redeem mankind.
(10) “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
The Christ child has been born, and he told them where He could be found.
The angels and the shepherds rejoiced.
The angels left and the shepherds had a choice to make.
The choice was to either go back to life as they knew it or pursue the Christ child. They choose to pursue Christ.
“Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
In all the recorded time of world history, the world has only been at peace 8% of the time, or an estimated 286 years. Over 8,000 treaties have been signed and broken, they estimate over 14, 500 wars have been started between nations and over 6 billion people have died because of war.
2 things I know- this world without Jesus (1) does not know peace (2) it does not know joy.
My brother and I as kids didn’t participate much in church. I remember the time we did; we played rocks in the Christmas play. Our jobs were to just sit there while everyone else did their parts.
Maybe that is the problem with people today. Christmas story is familiar and our only active part in it is setting around and watching everyone else do their part.
Throughout the history of Israel, shepherding was a noble job. It was not noble job for the people of Israel. They hated shepherds, they were considered unclean and not allowed to participate in temple worship. One Rabbi wrote- “No help is to be given to heathens or shepherds.”
But in God’s eyes shepherds were noble people. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and the future king of Israel David were shepherds.
There has to be a lot of unwritten words between “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby.”
God had to have had a good reason that God choose shepherds to be the first to hear the announcement of His Son’s birth. Shepherds, who were considered only one step above the lepers to bring the good news of Jesus birth.
I think He did that to include everyone. Looking at the lowliest of shepherds to the highest of kings and every -person in between.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son”
God loved the world, the whole world.
He gave His only Son. (Most precious thing)
So that you and I could have salvation.
God came to the forgotten- to show that He wants to touch our lives.
I want you to see something here- He came to connect with the overlooked!
The shepherds received the good news and the good news is still touching people years later.
It is why shepherds and us today still can sing “Joy to the world”
Joy to the world the Lord has come
Let earth receive her king.
Let every heart prepare Him room.
He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove.
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love.
These are not biblical words, but there is a biblical principal here. If we are to connect and have the joy that God intended for us to have, we will have to receive the king.
There is a story about a young women who went away to college in the fall, leaving her plants and her goldfish in the care of her mother, who had a tendency to be forgetful. Some of us may know somebody with a brown thumb. This mother had one. The plants that the daughter left behind in the care of her mother died at the end of the month. The mother dutifully broke the bad news to her. When the young women called a week later, her mother confessed that the goldfish had died too. There was a long pause, then in a fearful voice the girl asked, How’s Dad?
Truth of the matter is we can never experience the joy intended by forgetting what is important. The true meaning of joy can be lost in presents, decorations, parties, even family if we are not careful.
Joy for the shepherds began the moment they decided they were going to see the things that has happened. (repeat )