Summary: Christmas message.
Good News of Great Joy!
December 20, 2009
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
Me: I don’t know about you, but for me, sometimes the joy of the holiday season can get lost in the hustle and bustle of just getting ready for it.
Between the Living Christmas Tree, doing nursing home services, speaking here an extra time, and trying to get my own shopping done, it’s easy for me to just get the attitude of, “Let’s just get this over with.”
But I do enjoy the season, for the most part. I can even put up with the snow, at least until the end of December.
I like seeing the decorations, I enjoy listening to Jim Nabors sing Christmas carols, and I enjoy the Christmas specials on TV – even the ones with Santa Claus.
I like watching, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” with Jimmy Stewart, and my favorite Christmas movie of all time, “A Christmas Story,” - you know, the one with Ralphie who wants a BB gun for Christmas and plots ways to get his parents or Santa to get him one.
And I enjoy seeing my kids’ faces when they’re opening the gifts we’ve been able to get them.
I like Christmas, for the most part.
We: There is lots to enjoy about Christmas.
And that’s good, since it’s supposed to be a joyous holiday.
In our passage for today, we’re told that the birth of Jesus was an occasion of good news of great joy.
So my hope is that today you’ll walk away with some of that joy in your hearts, even if it has lost of that in your life.
God/You: Our passage for today is Luke 2:8-20 (p. 725) –
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.
Great stuff in this part of the Christmas story.
From this passage we can learn some things and what I want to impress on you to day is to look at the people here and decide that each of them is worth imitating.
So I want to describe a bit about what is worth imitating in each of these cases, and maybe God will help you grab something new that you can use to help bring some life to your Christmas celebrations this year.
1. The angels.
> They sang praises to God for the Savior.
This is easy to imitate this time of year, isn’t it? We’ve already done some of that this morning, and no doubt most of you will do some more before Friday.
I really enjoy most Christmas carols, because of the joy they proclaim, and because they shout the goodness of God to lowly sinners like us.
And then, in the only instance of Scripture where this happens…
> The angels told someone how to find Jesus.
Every other time an angel is involved in helping someone come to the point where they are ready to hear about Jesus, the angel says something like, “Go find that Peter dude, and get him to tell you about something very important.”
Because you see, that’s our job, and it’s a great way to imitate the next group of people, and that is…