Links Daily Devotional

The Living Announcement

“I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.” (Luke 2:10, NIV)

If you went to church this past weekend, it is likely that you greeted some visitors. Christmas Sunday is one of those occasions when people who usually have other plans show up for services.

I suppose we could be critical of this. We could dismiss these folks as those who don’t really mean it, like that once-a-year foursome that teams up in goofy matching outfits and shoots 86 in the charity scramble. No one takes them seriously. Though if they want to throw their money in the pot, that’s fine.

I think we know well enough not to head this direction in our hearts and in our minds. We recognize that we are not to be Pharisees, establishing our own measures of righteousness just out of reach of everyone else. Jesus called us to a higher standard than that: “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees…you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). Those words should stop our insiderism in its tracks.

More than that, we can find an arresting of our exclusivities in the Christmas account itself. Luke recorded the fullest Christmas story, complete with shepherds and angels. And it is in the herald’s announcement of Jesus’ birth that we stand corrected.

How is that? Simple. “The good news of great joy” is intended “for all people.” No one is to be left out.

Oh sure, some will leave themselves out, in the same way that people avoid accessing the news of our day. They either never look at it, or pay it no considerable attention. A hurricane blows in and they head for the resort. An act of terror leaves a wake of dead and they order up another round. The only thing better than dulling the pain is never having to feel it in the first place.

Our concern, however, is not with each one’s response. Rather, it is with our own welcome. We, like the angel, are designed–in our salvation–to be ambassadors, heralds of that good news. The joy within us is meant to come out! Our Christmas spirit must be the Holy Spirit, living in us, shining through us, cheering our friends and our neighbors, not just with our Scrooge-free smiles but with the fullness of the One who is Emmanuel. He is Christ in our hearts and then on our lips, as we too spread the joyous message that leads to salvation.

Jeff Hopper

December 24, 2012

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