Good News

 
Read: Luke 2:1–7; Micah 5:2.

The overwhelming message of this passage is the humble circumstances into which Jesus was born. It just seems so un-extraordinary. The simplicity of the Savior’s birth reminds us of the simplicity of our salvation.
 

The birth of the Savior in your life requires humility.

 
Read: Luke 2:8–12.
 
Why did the announcement go to shepherds? The shepherds represented the types of people overlooked by religion. Due to their employment as shepherds, they would not be able to participate in religious worship. They represent those pushed to the side by religion.
 
Of all the times that I have read this passage, a phrase jumped right off the pages to me this time as I considered the shepherds. The phrase is “the glory of the Lord shone around them.” The prophet Isaiah foretells of the demonstration of God’s glory (Isaiah 60:1-2).
 
Christ’s birth was the light that had come. These shepherds were the first to experience the glory of the Lord returning in a whole new way. The Holy presence of the Lord shone around ritually unclean shepherds in the fields outside Bethlehem. The glory didn’t appear in the Temple in Jerusalem. It appeared to the most unlikely characters in a most unlikely place.
 
When the Shepherds saw and angel the the Glory of the Lord all around them they were indeed terrified. Terrified because they may have heard stories of the power and the purity of God’s glory. They probably thought judgement and death would follow. But it didn’t. Instead, the Angel said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” After calming the shepherds’ fears, the angel declares what God is doing. Humanity has nothing to fear when God moves in grace.
 
His glory and presence was coming in a whole new way. This was the Good News. God Himself was going to dwell with man. See John 1:14.
 
This is the ultimate expression of God’s grace. Our Lord, our Savior, is approachable, he is near, he welcomes those who are not perfect. A Savior has been offered to you. But as with all gifts offered, it needs to be personally received.
 

While the Savior’s offer is universal, it requires a personal response.

 
Read: Luke 2:13–20.

The Shepherds weren’t satisfied with just hearing about the Good News. They had to go and see, to experience, to receive this Good News bundled up in the swaddling clothes and lying in a manger — within reach of all who would come with humble hearts.
 
After the encounter with their newborn Savior, the Shepherds spread the word.
 

Those who experience the Good News share the Good News.

 
Remember, the angels announced that it was good news for all people. What are you doing to place the Good News within reach of those around you?
 
Don’t complicate Christmas. God made this as down to earth, simple, approachable, and interactive as He possibly could. Don’t complicate it. Don’t take away from the simplicity of it. Approach it again with simple faith. The Good News is within your reach. God’s favor rests on you during this season of grace. Don’t miss it.
 

TODAY…a Savior has been born to you.

 
Will you respond to him today?
 

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Unexpected News

 

Read: Luke 1:5–7. Right after we are introduced to Zechariah and Elizabeth, we are confronted with the problem and the pain that has plagued their lives for years – infertility. It was often considered a result of personal sin or judgement from God. Because of this, it brought an incredible amount of disgrace upon the women suffering from it. The fact they were blameless and infertile doesn’t seem to go together. This is a great example of bad things happening to good people for no apparent reason. My experience has proven that God is at work for my good (and others) even in the midst of unfair events.

The first bit of unexpected news: Your limitation does not limit the effectiveness of God’s plan. God regularly worked great things through those who felt limited. We need to learn to view our limit as God’s conduit through which He works out His plan.

 
Your limitation does not limit the effectiveness of God’s plan.

 

Read: Luke 1:8–13. Why did God wait to make this announcement and answer their prayers at this appointed time? Why not years earlier when they undoubtedly prayed earnestly for a child? God’s plan had multiple layers, multiple players. Next dose of unexpected news is: God’s plan for you isn’t just about you. God sent Jesus, his Son, at the appointed time. Zechariah and Elizabeth didn’t know what God was up to and were unaware of His timeline. They were a parallel story that was about to merge with the great story of God’s plan. Their hopes and dreams were bound up in God’s ultimate plan — which wasn’t just a child for them BUT a Savior for the whole world — whom their child, John, would prepare the way for.

God’s plan for you isn’t just about you.

 
They were to be a part of the plan God was preparing to unfold — and this plan wasn’t just about them or John. It was about Jesus! Could it be that your current unanswered prayer is on hold because God is working out a plan greater than you could ever imagine.

Read: Luke 1:14-17. The name “John” means Gift of God. He was certainly a gift of God to his parents. But this gift of God wasn’t meant to be kept to themselves. As this passage illustrates, John was to be used of God to make way for the Son of God.

The birth of John was placed in the Christmas story to remind us that God still wants us to introduce people to Jesus. The unexpected news of Christmas is that You are the gift of God used by God to introduce someone to Jesus this Christmas.
 
Christmas is one time of the year that people are surrounded by the message of Christ. How might God use you to prepare the way for someone to discover Christ as Savior this Christmas.
 
You are the gift of God used by God to introduce someone to Jesus this Christmas.

 

Read: Luke 1:18–25. In its most basic form, disgrace means a reversal or removal of grace; to fall out of favor. Elizabeth experienced disgrace personally and publicly because of her infertility. However, God extended grace to Elizabeth and that expression of God’s favor removed her disgrace. The final piece of unexpected news we can glean from this story of Christmas Greetings is that God’s favor in your life removes disgrace from your life. God’s favor is expressed through His gift of undeserved grace.

There was nothing that Zechariah or Elizabeth could do to bring this about. It was all God. God gave her grace in place of her disgrace. In what ways do you struggle with disgrace? This Christmas Greeting is a reminder that you don’t have to live in that disgrace any longer. In fact, disgrace cannot survive under the power of God’s amazing grace.
 
God’s favor in your life removes disgrace from your life.

 

Perhaps you feel as though you have fallen from God’s grace and are left wallowing in disgrace. Please listen to me: God’s grace is still available to you. God still favors you.

Which unexpected news did you most need to hear today? What do you need to do to respond to this news today?
 
 

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