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Good News of Great Joy

Advent 2020: December 25
Good News of Great Joy Hero Image Good News of Great Joy Hero Image
Scripture:

“And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

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. 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. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’

“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.’ And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

“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.” (Luke 2:6-21)

Devotion:

“Let us go . . . and see this thing that has happened,” the shepherds said. For the last 25 days, we’ve opened up God’s Word to see all the things that happened leading up to that first Christmas Day. We’ve seen the miracles God has worked for His people, the battles He has won for them, the messes that His people made that God turned around to use for good, and the promises that He’s kept. All of the stories pointed to this moment in history, that people might meet this newborn King—Jesus!

God’s Word has been to us what the angels were to the shepherds on that night in Bethlehem. The word “angel” just means “messenger,” and the Bible has been our angel, our messenger, through these 25 days of Advent. The stories have told us good news of great joy that is for all people—of a God who parts the sea, who defeats giants, who restores broken families, who walks with people through the fire, and who rescues the weak and vulnerable.

The question for us on this Christmas Day is this: Will we be like the shepherds? Yes, the shepherds listened intently to the message of the angels, and yes, they went to see Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes in that manger. But the Bible tells us that the shepherds became messengers themselves when they returned from the stable “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.”

On this Christmas Day, there are still many who do not really know why Christmas matters. They think Christmas is about toys and reindeer and Santa, and they need to hear the good news of great joy that God sent His only Son to save them! Spread the good news!

Questions:
  1. Who in your life doesn’t know the good news about Jesus? Stop right now and pray for them.
  2. When was the last time you invited someone to church so that they could hear the good news about Jesus? Who could you be a “messenger” to this new year?
  3. These last 25 days, we read a lot of stories about things God did in the Bible. God is still doing great things today! What stories do you know of amazing things God has done recently in the lives of neighbors, friends, or family?
Family Activity:

Merry Christmas! For the final ornament, draw a gift to remind you that the best gift God has ever given you is His Son, Jesus. Pray that God would help you see the story of His big rescue plan not only in His Word but also how He’s continuing it today. Parents, pray especially for your kids to see and believe how deeply they are loved and cherished by their perfect Heavenly Father.