“Good News” (Part 3)

December 21, 2016

Lebanon County Amish farm 12/20/16 (Click to enlarge)
We never weary of passing this large Amish spread on Harvest Road in southern Lebanon County. Take a look at that clothesline!
(Click on photo for larger view)

“Good News” (Part 3)

Message Summary: This week we are considering a singular portion of Scripture that is at the heart of the Christmas story. Today let us consider the message of the angel to the shepherds, “good news of great joy”.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12).

How great our joy! Great our joy!
Joy, joy, joy! Joy, joy, joy!
Praise we the Lord in heav’n on high!
Praise we the Lord in heav’n on high!

What brings you joy? One practically universal source of joy is babies. Regardless of culture babies bring joy! I was shopping at our local Lancaster Costco several weeks ago and overheard two older couples talking. One said to the other, “We just like to come in to see all the babies”. Of course they see many different babies but especially predominant in this Costco are the many Amish babies you can almost always count on seeing as their mothers, sometimes accompanied by their dads, pack up the large shopping cart since most of them have large families.

We will have some variety in our home on Christmas Day as we will enjoy dinner with our Amish friends, Jesse and Anna Ruth and their six children, our Zimbabwean friends, Notsen and Tho and their two sons, and our long-time friends, Jim and Dorothy, who are now residents of Lancaster County. And yes, we will have babies in the house!

The joy a tiny baby brings is at the very heart of the Christmas gospel. The message the angel proclaimed to the shepherds is expressed in Luke 2:10, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people”. Just consider the aspect of “great joy” these lowly shepherds received in the message of the Gospel.

This event had none of the normal trappings we associate with joy today. It wasn’t available to just the Hollywood elite, the intellectual, the wealthy, or the big name politicians. The joy the angel spoke of wasn’t related to flashy consumer goods, there was no big sweepstakes giveaway, no great buy at the mall.

Instead the angel spoke of joy that originates from an entirely different source. This great joy is the result of the birth of a baby. Not just any baby though, but Jesus who came to save all people who ask forgiveness for their sins. The angel’s message went on to proclaim, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.”

We encourage you to look to the genuine Source of lasting, enduring joy. Let us express deep and abiding joy daily as a testimony of what Christ has done for us, what He has done in us, and what He wants to do through us. May the Lord fill your heart with great joy as you ponder the marvel and blessing of the birth of our Saviour.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the story is so familiar to many of us since we heard it from the time we were old enough to be still and listen. Many of us participated in yearly church pageants where we dressed as an angel, a shepherd, a wiseman or maybe even Mary or Joseph. We memorized our parts from Matthew and Luke and can quote those Scriptures even today. It was exciting every Christmas to participate in the story of our Savior’s birth. Because of familiarity we can lose the wonder, the mystery, and the excitement of Christ coming to earth. Would You fill our hearts afresh with great joy as we reflect upon our Lord Jesus coming to earth to show His love to us and to teach us Your timeless truths. Our Saviour cared for the unlovable. He healed the sick, raised the dead, and drove out demons. He died for our sins and rose again on the third day. Yes, the story of the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes is familiar, but we never want to weary of the daily impact Christ’s coming to earth has on our lives and in our hearts. We love You and thank You for sending Jesus to us. Amen.

DonateSpecial Year-end Financial Appeal: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. We typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive a fee. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would like to make a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

Make a tax deductible donation directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Make A DonationPlease Note: We also provide this familiar PayPal option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax-deductible receipt. Click here to donate using PayPal. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: “brooksyne@dailyencouragement.net”

Thank you

Stephen & Brooksyne

Lebanon County farm 12/20/16 (Click to enlarge)
Another farm I passed yesterday in southern Lebanon County on Lawn Road. You can still see a bit of the first covering snow we had Saturday.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“How Great Our Joy”  Video  Haven

“Joy To The World”  Video  David Phelps

“All Is Well”  Video  Michael W. Smith

Usage of phrase “great joy” in New Testament:

  • “But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10).
  • “Then they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:52).
  • “So there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:8).
  • “So then, welcome Him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him” (Philippians 2:29).
  • “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people” (Philemon 1:7).
  • “It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us” (2 John 1:4).
  • “It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it” (3 John 1:3).
  • “To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present You before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (Jude 1:24).

Finally today:

Saint Thomas sunset (Photo by Rick Caldwell)As we begin our first day of winter and settle in for several months of rather chilly temps in our region I am reminded of warm places like this photo our friend Rick Caldwell showed me yesterday of his visit last week to Saint Thomas!
Resources for Christmas Celebrations
(We will leave these resources posted below our daily messages through Christmas)

Each year we share several online resources that we have used over the years and that may be a blessing to families and churches during this Christmas season.

“In Remembrance of Me” pdf  This is a passion-filled Scripture reading for two adults. Brooksyne and I have used this reading with great receptivity during Christmas Eve services over the years.  We suggest, if possible, a musical background as the message is read. It is also a great lead-in to a Communion service. It should be thoroughly practiced and read with great feeling.  Here’s a great Communion Hymn for Christmas (Video)

“When Christ Was Born” pdf This is an adaptation to the tune of “How Great Thou Art”. It’s a great song to sing as a congregation since most are familiar with and love the tune.

Responsive Christmas Scripture readings for church or family:
John 1:1-18  pdf
“O Come Let Us Adore Him”  pdf

My First Christmas In Heaven  This is a blessed reminder for all who lost a loved one this year.  This is the poem that Brooksyne read and wrote about in this message.

Christmas Knowledge Test

We have also posted two Christmas carol quizzes here (scroll down).

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