Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 29: Christmas 2 - Luke 2:8-12

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 that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

And Behold I bring you good tidings of Great Joy!” The children recite it each Christmas Eve with fresh enthusiasm that is a joy to behold. It is expected that we will hear this wonderful Bible verse.

But what is great joy? Sometimes, we can find ourselves not looking forward to the festivities surrounding the Holiday season. Sometimes the Holiday’s can be hard for people who have recently lost loved ones, had disappointments in jobs, family situations, health, etc. It can be a lonely or sad time. As the Holiday season started with Thanksgiving, my son reminded me what Great Joy is. He knows joy from doing and knowing what is “expected”.

For our son, it is expected that Thanksgiving meal is at noon, we put the Christmas tree up that afternoon and prepare for the birthday celebration of our Savior Jesus Christ. After Christmas it is expected that the tree will come down New Year’s Day. As the tree was being taken down, my son said, “What’s Next”? Then he immediately answered his own question with Good Friday, and then, Easter. Like Easter is the grand finale of the seasons. As a Christian we know if we believe and are baptized, it is expected that we will be saved and Easter truly is the grand finally of the seasons.

When the Angel appeared to the Shepherds in the field announcing the coming birth of the savior, they immediately left their watch to go to Bethlehem fully expecting to see the baby that would grow to be their Savior. They were not afraid, they did not doubt, they did as was expected of them. When they saw their savior, this brought them great joy.

As Mary looked down at her baby and heard the Shepherds praising the baby Christ Child, Mary treasured these things and pondered them in her heart. Mary did what God expected of her, and she knew Great Joy.

In our Christian walk, it is expected that we will face many challenges. It is expected to try to follow God’s commandments for our life. It is expected that we, being human, will fail. But it is expected that through Prayer and repentance, we will be forgiven through Christ our Savior. It is expected in faith, that we will know Great Joy, in seeing our Savior face to face when our walk on earth is done.

This is the Promise of Christmas to me. Finding Great Joy in knowing what is expected for our futures as Christians.

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope”. Jeremiah 29:11. What Great Joy.
-Pam Everett

O God, our Maker and Redeemer, You wonderfully created us and in the incarnation of Your Son yet more wondrously restored our human nature. Grant that we may ever be alive in Him who made Himself to be like us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved
Collect for the 1st Sunday after Christmas Series A – Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

No comments: