Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Third Sunday of Advent

Third Sunday of Advent

Keyword: Joy
Theme: Proclamation
Action: Tell others the Good News with great joy!

First Advent talked of preparation – of personal repentance and getting right with God and God shines His light into the darkness.
Second Advent is about hope and talks about Expectation - believing in the promise
- the promise of a Messiah
- the resurrection of a dream almost given up
- the dormant promise come to life again

The Third advent is about Joy! the deliriously good news of a Messiah being born in a stable. The ruler who had been promised was here. The slavery, the bondage would be over. Peace would be coming to the people of God

A king - who will reign wisely
- who will do what is right and just in the land
- who will be called "The Lord Our Righteousness"
- who will gather together and lead his lost sheep
- who breaks open the way before us


Jeremiah 23:3-6
3 "I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4 I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the LORD.
5 "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.

Psalm 27:5-6
5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. 6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.

Micah 5:2, 4, 5a
2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." 4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. 5 And he will be their peace.

Luke 2:8-20
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
15When 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." 16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Your Preparation
Notice that at the advent of the Good Shepherd, the news is first announced to shepherds?
In the middle of another night shift
In the middle of another long week of work
In the middle of a long hard life of making just enough to get by
In the middle of you life
… the angels appear and tell your good news of great joy
… they tell you news which is the best news you've ever heard - but could not possibly be true
… they tell you news you could never have expected but that will change the way you think and live forever

Do you need some good news in your life today?
Do you need an angel to speak into your situation?
In the middle of the long dark night
In the midst of a difficult journey?
In the centre of the desert?
Open your heart to the Good News the angels bring this Christmas and let your heart feel joy again!

Almighty God, In the middle of another night shift you say to us: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. You surprise us with joy – the joyous surprise of angels at midnight, the joyous surprise of a baby king born in a stable, the joyous surprise of the Shepherd finds our heart and sets it free. Come again this Christmas in the middle of our dark night to surprise us with Your joy, Your love and Yourself. This Christmas help us to tell the “good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today … a Savior has been born to you!”

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