Good News of Great Joy!

Today’s Reading: Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:5-80; 2:1-38

The morning and its reading suit my morning! A bright sunny day; a couple of answered prayers to boot; a wedding to go to; and a wedding feast to attend tonight! On the other hand the challenge of packing up all the books of the exhibition! Does that sound like the formula for a good day? I am further encouraged by seeing two couples in our reading today being able to face life and its difficulties and experience God directly talking to them with His instructions for their lives!

I have always been challenged by the two different reactions – one by Zechariah and on the other hand the one by Mary! Zechariah asks the angel, after being encouraged NOT TO FEAR, and being told of a special son he is to have – “How can I be sure of this?” (for he states his difficulties to the proposal!). Mary on the other hand, although stating her difficulty at seeing the angel’s promise come true and being told like Zechariah “NOT TO FEAR,” says, “I am the Lord’s servant… May it be to me as you have said.”

Zechariah because of his unbelief, is told he will be silent and not able to speak until the good news happens! I am afraid that many times, I am liable to react like Zechariah, but the good news for Zechariah and me is “it will come true at its proper time.” Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness, despite my unbelief! (2 Tim. 2:13?)

Mary and Joseph must have been very special people! I have always thought that if I had to choose someone to care for our girls, it would have to be a very responsible dependable person – Mary and Joseph were both that! I am sure that Mary was aware that to have a child with no father would open her up to rejection (is that why her father and mother are never mentioned in the Bible?) and for me it is a very emotional scene to imagine Mary trying to explain to Joseph why she was having a child without them being married! (something that at first Joseph is unable to accept), but encouraged by the angel, he too accepts the angel’s instruction, and lovingly and respectfully cares for Mary! What beautiful obedient people and what a privilege to care for the Son of God, as your very own child! Little is said about them, as they fade into the background of life to make room for God’s own Son, to burst into this world’s darkness. Amazingly – He is the exact image of the invisible God – a perfect man living among fallen men! Isn’t that reason enough to be filled with joy at the thought of what we are reading!

And both Elizabeth and Mary are filled with joy, as well as unknown shepherds, just going about their daily responsibilities of caring for sheep – sitting in the darkness of night, but suddenly surrounded by angels praising God, while the rest of the world sleeps on in the darkness of night. I think it sounds something like my world! Hopefully like the shepherds, I’m not sleeping either, so I can hear the joyful message that God brings!

And two old people, for whom the world has no use – ready and willing to praise God that they have seen God’s long awaited promise come true! – Anna – very old – a widow, with only 7 years of marriage and now old at 84, devoted to God – night and day(!) – now she “comes up AT THAT VERY MOMENT (by whose direction?) She gives thanks and then goes about spreading the GOOD news! Now that I think of it, I too have good news for those who are looking something this world can not offer! Hopefully I am as efficient as Anna in my news spreading!

So please feel a sense of joy today, and spread the good news of our loving humble Saviour born in a manager under the watchful eye of His Father, and a few other faithful people! There is every reason to be encouraged – a Saviour HAS been born!

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