Summary: A Christmas sermon based on the angels announcement to the shepherds.
AM Sermon preached at Syria Christian Church December 19, 2004
"Good News, Everybody!" Luke 2:8-20
Let’s start off this morning with a little bit of audience participation. If you’ve ever attended church camp as either a camper or faculty member----please raise your hand. Okay, you can put them down. Those of you who have been to church camp know that meal times can get pretty crazy sometimes. Mail call is usually good for a few jokes or songs from campers who received three letters or a package from home. Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to sing a song or tell a joke at church camp because of mail you received. A lot of us have been there and done that. Now, raise your hand if you were ever sent around the flag pole hand in hand with a camp sweetheart... Okay you can put your hand down. All of that and more happens during meal times at camp but having been a dean of several weeks of camp over the years meal time almost always involved making announcements but not until after a song about announcements was first sung. You camp goers know what I’m talking about---the dean or some faculty member motions for everyone’s attention and says something like "Listen up! I’ve got a few announcements to make..." and then immediately that person is interrupted by a room full of people singing "announcements, announcements, announcements, a terrible death to die, a terrible death to die, a terrible death to talk to death a terrible death to die, announcements, announcements, announcements...ments...ments..."
You know, there’s something about making announcements... at church camp, campers don’t want to hear them and deans don’t like having to make them... in church services, most church goers dread announcements and I know for a fact from our own worship leaders it’s a struggle in trying to find a good spot to work them in because announcements usually seem dull and boring and they can kill a worshipful atmosphere in a few seconds. But no so with the angelic announcement made to the shepherds, as we shall see. I’ll be reading from Luke 2:8-20 and I encourage you to follow along in your Bible or up here on the screen..... [SCRIPTURE SLIDES]
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
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.
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
15 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."
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
As we begin to take a closer look at the good news announcement that the angel of the Lord made the night of Jesus’ birth we find first that the good news was personal...
[1ST SERMON POINT SLIDE] the angel said to the shepherds, "I bring YOU good news of great joy." How surprised these shepherds must have been. That night in the hours before the angel’s visit as the shepherds busied themselves with the routine care of the sheep---tending their wounds, removing parasites from their skin, uprighting sheep that had carelessly become tipped---probably one of the furthest things from their minds was that they personally and individually were of infinite value to God. And yet surprise---one minute they’re somewhat bored listening to the bleating of sheep as they’ve done night after night for years, the next they’re surrounded by the glory of God. A second before it was the same old, same old and now they know it’s true that God is doing a new thing---and He’s doing it for them!