*During Advent, Pastor Cody is writing weekly advent readings for the Sunday worship gathering. Each reading will be posted for further reflection. Enjoy and share!

Advent Reading \\ Joy

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.
Luke 2:8-20 ESV

For the shepherds, this was just another night, like so many before. The still of the night would have felt thoughtlessly ordinary. Nothing could have prepared them for what was coming. An angel appeared to them (I picture a human-like figure sort of self-illuminating on the dark countryside) and the glory of the Lord shone around them (use your imagination here), and they were filled with great fear. Who could blame them? These were the least important, the last to know, the lowest of the working class. When attention was fixed on them, it was usually not for good reason.
The angel’s first words meet them right where they are. “Fear Not. I bring you good news of great joy.” The fear of the shepherds is met with a reason for joy: the savior is born. At the proclamation of this good news, all the angels break into joyous praise.
The shepherds go to see the thing that has happened, which the Lord made known to them. The good news had been given to the most unlikely of messengers. At the birthplace, they shared the good news to the wonderment of those who received it, especially Mary. And as they returned home, they were glorifying and praising God.
This morning, we have the opportunity to walk in the path of the shepherds. We too can receive with wonder this good news proclaimed by the angels. We, who may also feel like unlikely messengers, can share the good news with all who will listen. And we too can glorify and praise God for what he has done. Because the Savior has come, we can trade in our fear and receive joy. The outpouring of this joy can be expressed in our praise. Let us glorify our King as we receive this good news of great joy!

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