Summary: The announcement of the angel to Mary is about the Joy Of The Lord in sending Jesus to save the world.
We’ve Got Joy For You, The Joy Of The Lord
Today we are in our second sermon in the series We’ve Got Joy. Last week Pastor Toby spoke on the Joy of the church, next week Pastor Kellie will speak on the Joy of the Angels, and today I will speak on the Joy of the Lord. It’s hard to go through the Christmas season and not see the word Joy. Joy is that feeling you get inside when something wonderful has happened
Imagine for a moment that you and a friend were on a trip and you were having a great time out hiking in the wilderness, you sit down to talk. Your companion leans back and yells ouch. You immediately see a poisonous snake scurrying across the path, but not before leaving its venom in your friend. You both know without the antidote to the poison your friend is going to die. You look in the backpack for the antidote because you knew you had been warned to watch out for that snake. Yet when you get to the bottom of the backpack, you realize the contents have been dropping out because of a hole in the bag.
If you stay there and do nothing your friend dies. You can’t move your friend, because motion would make the poison flow that much faster through the body. Your cell phone is out of range. You tell your friend, “I’ll find the antitdote. I’ll come back with it. I promise.” You go back down the path you’ve hiked. Your search seems hopeless and you know time is running out. You have no idea of when or where that red package might have fallen out of the bag.
Then all of a sudden you see something red up near the path. You hurry toward it. It’s the emergency pack that had fallen out. You pick it up and you squeeze it, and you head back to your friend. You have a great joy in your heart, but you’re wondering are you going to get there in time. You arrive and see your friend still propped up against the tree, and you come running saying, “I found it.”
The feeling you have inside is some of the joy that the angel brings from the heart of God in our New Testament Reading. You see in our Old Testament reading, God was walking with two companions whom God loved dearly. They were called Adam and Eve. God did all that he could to put them in a perfect surrounding where they had all they needed in life, with none of the pains of sickness, sorrow, heartache or misery of any kind.
God told them, to just show their love for God, by refusing to eat from just one tree in the garden. They could eat from all the other trees, but not this one. If they did eat from the tree, they would surely die.
Things worked out beautifully until one day a poisonous snake showed up in the garden. This snake was beautiful and intelligent. You know him by the name of Satan. He convinced Adam and Eve that God was trying to hold them back from having a good time. God was not telling the truth about the tree leading to death. As a matter of fact, if they did the opposite of what God had instructed, they would become just as smart as God. How often do we think that God is holding is back from having a good time, from some of the rules God has in place. How many of us discovered the hard way, God was right the first time and we wished we would have listened.
Well Adam and Eve, chose the good times over God, and immediately found out the consequences of their actions were far worse than they had imagined they could be. They found they had broken their relationship with God, they had strained the relationship they had with each other, they had begun to know what sorrow was, they were removed from the garden of eden ,and they would no longer live forever because death was now a part of creation. God was heartbroken over his loss of relationship to them, but God is holy and cannot accept sin without a payment for it.
But God gave them hope, that one day things were going to change. God told the serpent Satan, “one day one of Eve’s descendants is going to crush your head.” The word crush implies complete destruction. One day one of Eve’s descendants would come into the world and undo the work Satan had done and bring people back into a real relationship with God.
Hundreds and thousands of years past. Only God knows the day when it’s going to happen. God gives people prophecies to let them know the day is approaching, and God provides them with signs. Then comes that moment when all of history comes together, and God is going to intervene in the life of humankind in a very dramatic way. The way you felt, when you saw that medical packet lying on the ground, because you knew what it meant for your friend, was the way God felt, when it was time for Jesus to come into this world in human form.