Friday, December 9, 2011

December 10, 2011

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 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. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:8-11

Christmas means so many things to so many people in so many different ways. Some are very happy and some are very painful. All are very meaningful.

But this morning I want to focus on two things Christmas offers that everyone should welcome because they are in short supply - "good news" and "great joy".

In a culture that has been negatively shaped by the 24/365 cable news cycle, bad news constantly assaults our consciousness. Even as one who is a "news junkie" I would get overwhelmed by the bad news were I not firmly ground in the "good news". So, in a very real and powerful way, Christmas is the antidote for CNN, MSNBC, HNN, and even FOX cable news outlets.

What is that "good news"?

The "good news" or the "gospel" is that God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He bridged the moral/spiritual gap that separated a sinful fallen race from a Holy God. Thousands of years of religion could do it. Centuries of recycled philosophies could not do it. Political power and might couldn't do it. Even the prophets, the promised land and the prosperity of God's people couldn't do it.

But God did it and the angels announced it, "Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord." The good news is that God sent us a Savior! We could not save ourselves because we were the problem! We needed to be saved FROM ourselves!

So how could that be accomplished? How could the great moral/spiritual gap that separated God and man be closed when we could not reach up to God? THAT'S THE GOOD NEWS!

God reached down to us! God became like us to provide us a shot at becoming like Him! God's Son emptied Himself of all the privileges and rights of the Godhead, checked out of Heaven and slid from eternity into time! Why would someone do that? UNCONDITIONAL LOVE! THAT'S THE GOOD NEWS!

This unique and miraculous incarnation was the only possible way to reconcile God and man. And only God could pull it off! Come on, only God could think of it! THAT'S THE GOOD NEWS!

So, what about the "Great Joy"?

That is what happens when you receive the "Good News"! That is the result of believing the "Good News" and being reconciled to God! That is what happens when you get so fed up with the bad news of sin that you repent and turn to the "Good News". "Great joy" is the proof that you have received the "Good news"! It is confirmation that into you a Savior has been born!

How is your joy this morning?