The Third Sunday of Advent
Posted on December 20, 2021 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.[e] 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:[f] 11 Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host[g] with the angel, praising God and saying:
14 Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people he favors! Luke 2:8-14
There are many common themes in Scripture; one of those themes is JOY. The word joy is used 236 times in the Bible. 167 times in the Old Testament and 69 in the New Testament.
Joy is a part of worship and praise.
Joy is expressed in good times and difficult times.
The writer of Hebrews writes that Jesus was obedient to His Father’s plan – even with the joy that was set before Him, He was obedient – even to His death on the cross.
The Christmas narrative is filled with joy. I try to imagine how the lowly shepherds really reacted to the visitation by the angels. Remember, there were 400 silent years without a word from God! Then all of a sudden, God speaks through his angels. Angelic visitations to Elizabeth, Zacharias, Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds.
Sometimes God is silent in our lives. We go through what some refer to as “the dark night of the soul.” It seems like God is distant – even frighteningly silent. Then out of nowhere, we receive a word from the Lord, and our hearts are filled with joy.
Isaac Watts penned the words to this well-loved Christmas carol:
Joy to the world! The Lord has come; Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room, And heaven and nature sing!
Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns; Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains repeat the sounding joy!
No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow as far as the curse is found!
He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove
the glories of His righteousness, and wonders of His love.
This Christmas so many people humanly speaking, have every reason to not have joy. I have never seen so many hurting people. So many suffering physically. So many going through times of sorrow and grief because their loved ones have gone home to be with the Lord.
We all need a good dose of JOY as we prepare for the day of celebration on Christmas day. I am praying that the JOY of the Lord will be your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). I pray he will turn your mourning into JOY (Jeremiah 31:13). I pray that His joy will fill your hearts with gladness that will overcome your sadness (Psalm 90:15).
Know this, we are praying for you! May God bless you.
Living in light of the gospel,
Bill Welte, President/CEO
Written by Bill Welte, President/CEO of America’s Keswick: Bill has been married to his childhood sweetheart for 40+ years and has four married kids and 12 amazing grandkids. He loves music and is an avid reader.
Think About This: “Our purpose (in relationship) is to get what we want but God’s purpose is to give us what we really need. We think things are going well only if we are getting along with others. But God says that it is also when we are not getting along with others that he is accomplishing his purpose. God has designed our relationship to function as both a diagnosis and a cure.”―
The Daily Bible Reading: Reflection | You can download our 2021 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” -1 Peter 4:7-8