Seeking Peace and Joy
– From the Christian hymn”The First Noel”
The Third Sunday of Advent 2019
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. 21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
1. Understanding the nature of darkness
2. Learning from the angels
3. Understanding God’s sign
a. One who entered human history
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
b. Born into suffering, sadness, and pain
12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
4. Finding Jesus in frailty and weakness
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
The kind of peace and joy that God wants to give was first revealed in darkness to poor and lonely shepherds. That peace and joy was found in a weak and frail boy asleep in a manger, who would one day die on a cross in order to bring them to fruition in our lives. God’s peace and joy is offered to those who live in darkness, who experience frailty and weakness, and continues through eternity, long after the death of our physical bodies.
- Do you have peace and joy in your heart today?
- What can you do to bring peace and joy into the lives of those around you?