Encountering Joy On Our Journey of Advent (3rd Week of Advent)

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The third week of Advent, we remember how the angels brought the shepherds good news of great joy!

Encountering Joy

Isn’t it just like the Lord to give us an encounter with Joy right smack-dab in the middle of the Christmas c.r.u.n.c.h!  You see he knew from the beginning of time that at this time we would all be frazzle-dazzled with holiday cheer exhaustion.  Trying to make Christmas perfect.  Trying to get the perfect gifts.  Trying to make the perfect cookies.  Trying to be the perfect hostess.  Trying.  Trying.  Trying.

But news flash ya’ll, this is the season of Advent!  The season of waiting with eager anticipation for the Christ Child.

Those who dash about busy miss the beauty of the waiting.

Take a deep breath and let’s remember the shepherds.  A quiet night tending their sheep.  Why did God choose the shepherds to see the angels first?  Why did they get to meet the Christ Child before everyone else?

A good shepherd in the Bible is described as faithful (Genesis 31:38-40), fearless (I Samuel 17:34-36), unselfish (Luke 15:3-6), considerate (Genesis 33:13-14), and believing (Luke 2:8-20).

When our kids were asked why they thought that God chose to reveal Himself to shepherds.  They said it was because we are God’s little lambs.  Because God calls Himself the Good Shepherd.  They said because Jesus was from the line of David and David was a shepherd.  Because Christ is the Lamb who was scarified for our sins.

Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household….The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  (Exodus 12:3, John 1:29)

It only makes sense that the shepherds would be the first to examine the Lamb.  Jesus revealing Himself to shepherds confirms His own role as the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world, made flesh, dwelling among us, letting us behold His glory.  It’s as if from the first moments of life on earth, He was showing us that He came to die.  Mary must have seen the signs.  All the more reason she was treasuring up things in her heart.

The foreshadowing of pain and agony, wrapped up in the Good News of great joy.

It’s the third week of Advent.  He’s almost here.  Are our hearts ready to receive the baby Jesus who is also the Lamb of God? 

In this act of revealing Himself to shepherds abiding in the field, the Lord showed us that He honors the common man, the hard-working soul who daily puts his hand to the task and doesn’t get proper recognition.  I think that God likes to honor those who don’t get honor for themselves–fishermen, tax collectors, beggars, carpenters, an insignificant young virgin, innkeepers with too many guests, a widow living in the temple, and of course, shepherds.  Jesus chooses these.  That has to be the best tidings of the greatest joy we can imagine.

Third Week of Advent


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