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Advent Week 4 | "Good News, Great Joy"

Good News, Great Joy...

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

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Good news. Great joy. All people.

What grand words. What an incredible promise. What an earth-shattering, life altering change this must be! This message sounds worthy of the terror it initially brought the shepherds as the angels shared.

A Savior, come to us? One who will make all things right, who will bring justice and will rule in peace! Finally, the relief we have been waiting for!

How will we know it this new dawn is here? What will this grand inauguration be like?

“And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

A child? A helpless baby? That is the savior in whom we should place our hope?

It feels like a stretch. It feels far-fetched. It feels like an unhelpful solution to our current problems.

And yet it seems that, throughout Scripture, God finds ways, again and again, to use the small, the weak, and the insignificant for his glorious purposes.

Isaiah 40 reminds us that those who have been exalted in this world will be brought low, and those who have been lowly will be exalted in the kingdom of God. Christ himself reminded us that it is the meek who will inherit the earth, and the poor in spirit, those who recognize their need for God’s help, will inherit the kingdom of God. And the apostle Paul, in his writings to the church in Corinth, reminds us that God chose that which is foolish to shame the wise, and that which is weak in the world to shame the strong; that God’s power is made perfect in weakness, and his grace is always sufficient.

Though many marveled at this infant’s birth and the good it would bring, we have the privilege of perspective. We see clearly the man, the Son, the Savior, that he would become, obedient to his Heavenly Father to the point of death, even upon a cross. Christ reigns at the right hand of God, no longer a humble babe, but as King of kings and Lord of lords. 

The world tells us that strength, wisdom, and power are the keys to all. We do grow, we do mature, and we do change, and these growths should be sought with the Lord’s help. But… if you feel weak, tired, depressed, discouraged, lonely, or hopeless in any way, take heart – the Lord is nearer than you think, using all of our moments surrendered to him for something great and redemptive.

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