Summary: Christmas message about the good news bringing great joy.

Joy to the World!

Luke 2:8-12, Philippians 4:4-5

December 3, 2006

You know what I’ve discovered about myself? And I’m not proud to admit it. But the fact of the matter is that I have found myself turning into a bit of a grinch sometimes during the holiday season.

The time of year when there should be the most joy in the world, I find myself, at times, not very happy about the holiday at all.

I think of all the “holiday villains” in Christmas stories.

The Grinch. Mr. Potter from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Ebenezer Scrooge. The Abominable Snowman from “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.”

I don’t want to be like that. But I am sometimes. I’ve got pressures and bills and deadlines and in-laws, just like the rest of you…

Anyone else here struggle like that at times? Surely I can’t be the only one!

We’re trying to travel plans settled, get presents for those we think we should get them for, and scrambling to remember what you gave Uncle Freddie last year so you don’t get him the same thing this year, even though you’re sure he wouldn’t appreciate ANYTHING you’d get him.

Anybody have someone like that on their gift list?

Christmas should be a joyous time. And for most, it is.

But for some, it’s a tough time. Family that’s too far away to make it home for the holiday.

My grandfather will spend his first Christmas without my grandma in almost 70 years this year, because she passed away just over a week ago. I participated in her funeral last Monday.

For others, it’s an issue of not having enough money to give the kind of gifts you’d like to give, if you can give any gift at all.

I know that feeling, as I’ve shared in the past.

So the Christmas holiday can be a time of great happiness and it can also be a time of great sadness. And some of you can attest to the fact that it can both in the same season, right?

Well, this is simply part of the human condition. We live in a fallen world, and it brings with it happiness and pain.

So what can we do about it? Well, I’m not sure I have much of an answer, but I want to share a couple things that I have found helpful to me.

These are two passages of Scripture that I can look at and reflect on during the season that, depending on what’s going on at that time, can bring me out of a painful or stressful time or greatly enhance a time where the joy is really present.

The first is a portion of Luke 2, verses 8-12 –

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."

Did you notice that sentence – “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

You know what I think is cool about that?

First, the news about the Savior is good news of great joy.

It’s great news because it’s the manifestation of the Father’s love for each and every one of us.

Each and every one of us? Are you sure, PB? Yup. Look again at that sentence:

“…for ALL the people.”

God intends for the Christmas baby and the redemption He brings to be good news that brings GREAT news for all of us.

That means that He intended the Messiah to be good news for ME!

And He intended the Messiah to be good news for YOU.

And because of the Messiah, we can rejoice in His love and care for us here on earth, and anticipate the time when all of this will be nothing but a memory, if even that.

Followers of Jesus have a reason for joy, no matter the present circumstances.

Here’s the second passage, Philippians 4:4-5

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time here, but what I like about this Scripture is that it’s written from prison.

He wasn’t writing this from some sea-side resort like some cheesy post-card saying, “Wish you were here!”

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