Thursday, December 16, 2004

Great Joy...

"Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great
joy which will be to all people." Luke 2:10

The angel who announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds
said that He came to them with "good tidings of great joy"
(Luke 2:10). Many people today hear these words about "great
joy" but don't understand them. They relish the season as they
decorate their homes, shop in cheerful malls, attend festive
parties, and exchange gifts with the ones they love. But after
all the excitement subsidies, they feel empty and joyless.
Others don't like the season at all. Many have no money for
gifts or decorations. Some have no friends with whom to
celebrate. The atmosphere of cheer around them actually deepens
their feelings of sadness.
The problem with both groups is that they wrongly identify
the "great joy" of which the angel spoke. It is found not in
the superficial fun but in the deeper meaning of the season.
When Jesus was born, God became a man so that He could save us
from our sins and give us the joyful prospect of eternity in
heaven. That's the true reason for joy. The shepherds went back
to the cold nights and loneliness of their vocation, but they
were "glorifying and praising God" (v.20).
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"The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the
things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had
been told." Luke 2:20

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