December 20, 2016
Read: John 16:16–24
Bible in a Year: Micah 1–3; Revelation 11
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
When Janet went to teach English in a school overseas, she found the atmosphere gloomy and depressing. People did their jobs, but no one seemed happy. They didn’t help or encourage one another. But Janet, grateful for all that God had done for her, expressed it in everything she did. She smiled. She was friendly. She went out of her way to help people. She hummed songs and hymns.
Little by little, as Janet shared her joy, the atmosphere at the school changed. One by one people began to smile and help each other. When a visiting administrator asked the principal why his school was so different, the principal, who was not a believer, responded, “Jesus brings joy.” Janet was filled to overflowing with the joy of the Lord and it spilled over to those around her.
The gospel of Luke tells us that God sent an angel to ordinary shepherds to deliver an extraordinary birth announcement. The angel made the surprising proclamation that the newborn baby “will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10), which indeed He did.
Since then this message has spread through the centuries to us, and now we are Christ’s messengers of joy to the world. Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we continue the practice of spreading the joy of Jesus as we follow His example and serve others. —Julie Ackerman Link
How might you spread the joy of Jesus to others today?
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Take the joy of Christmas with you every day.
INSIGHT: Just as the angel appeared in the night sky to give shepherds reason for joy, Jesus also used a dark moment to offer His disciples reason for hope on the other side of His suffering and their confusion. What they didn’t yet know would only be revealed in time. Christ’s death was a loving Father’s way of reconciling a rebel world to Himself. The despair of that night was necessary so that, three days later, a reason for hope now, and fullness of joy later, could be offered to all (v. 33). Mart DeHaan
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