12.24.2016

Luke 2:8-20 (1)

Heavenly peace and joy through Jesus Christ
Reading: Luke 2:8-20

Today we read about the birth story of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.
Many prophets prophesied that he would be born:
About 1400 years before the birth of Jesus the Messiah, Moses said:
The Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham: Genesis 22:18.
Moses said that he would be a descendant of Jacob: Numbers 24:17.
Moses said that he would come from the tribe of Judah: Genesis 49:10.
Moses said that a star would announce his birth: Numbers 24:17.

About 800 years before the birth of Jesus the Messiah, Isaiah said that the Messiah would come from the family of Jesse: Isaiah 11:1.
Isaiah said that he would come from Jesse’s son, David’s family: Isaiah 9:7.
Isaiah said that he would be born of a virgin and called “Emmanuel,” meaning, “God with us”: Isaiah 7:14.
Isaiah said that he would be called Wonderful Counselor: Isaiah 9:6.
Isaiah said that he would be called Mighty God: Isaiah 9:6.
Isaiah said that he would be called Everlasting Father: Isaiah 9:6.
Isaiah said that he would be called Prince of Peace: Isaiah 9:6.

About 700 years before the birth of Jesus, Micah said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem: Micah 5:2.

They prophesied about the Messiah to be born.
The Messiah is the most important person in the world.
The Messiah changed the future of each individual and each nation.
But when the Messiah was born, he was wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger, in an animal cave.
Many people, on earth, didn’t know the Messiah was born and laid in a manger in an animal shelter.

But in heaven there was a great joy.
The Messiah, the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace was born!
Heaven was shouting:
“The Christ is born!
What a Joy to the world!”
But on earth, people could not hear any of that.

God wanted to share this good news.
So God sent angels to some shepherds out in the fields, who were watching over their flocks at night.
God sent these angels to share God’s joy with the shepherds.

Among many people, God sent the angel to the lonely shepherds who was poor and humble.
Among many people who were rich and powerful and so on, God chose the poor shepherds.

So an angel appeared to them.
The glory of the Lord shone around them.
They were terrified.

But the angel said:
“Do not be afraid.
I have the good news that will bring great joy for all people.
Today in the town of David, the Savior was born.
He is the Messiah, the Lord.
This is how you can recognize him:
The baby is wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Then a great company of the heavenly choir appeared and praised God saying:
“Glory to God in the highest heaven.
On earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Maybe in order to show this heavenly choir, God chose the shepherds who lived outside in the field.
God wanted to show them this because God is their Father.

Anyway, after singing, the angels left them and gone into heaven.
The shepherds went to Bethlehem and to see the baby.
Feeling heavenly joy and peace, they went to Jesus.

They found the baby Jesus lying in the manger.
Then they said what the angel said: Luke 2:10-11
"This baby is the Savior, the Christ, the Lord.”
Then they glorified and praised God.
The shepherds could feel God's joy and peace.

Mary remembered what they said that they experienced.
Then she told people about this.
Then eventually someone wrote down to share this story with us.

Now why did God send his angels and heavenly choirs to the shepherds?
When we read the Bible, we are starting to understand God.
God knew that God worked differently not like people.
So God said through Isaiah: Isaiah 55: 8-9
“My thoughts are not your thoughts.
Your ways are not my ways.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways.
My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.”

So we pray and study to understand God.
Who is God?
We know God is the One who sent his Son to us.
We know God is the One who loves everyone equally.
We know God is the One who comforts the poor and frees them.
God is the One who honors the humble and humbles the proud.
We see again and again, that God honors the humble and humble the proud.

So the humble Son chose to be humble.
Then God could lift him up so that people may understand God.
The Bible explained how the Son of God became humble to save the world: Philippians 2:6-11

“The Son of God who is God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.
Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross!

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.
So at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.
Every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

This is how God works.
This is how the Son of God lives.
So of course, God is very pleased with the Son.
God blesses Jesus who preached to the poor.
God loved his son who healed the poor.
Because the Son of God is humble, God does not hesitate to honor Jesus the Most Humble One.
The most powerful and humble God honors the Most Humble Savior.

Today God still works like this.
God is the One who honors the humble.
God is doing it.
And no one can stop it.

God also remembers and blesses those who are kind to the humble.
God remembers and blesses the church that is kind to the humble.
God remembers and blesses the nation that is kind to the humble.
God blesses those who live with the humble.

Today the angel talked about the heavenly joy and peace.
The angel said something like this:
“Joy to the world.
This good news will bring great joy for all people.
Glory to God in the highest heaven.
So on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

These angels were sharing these heavenly feeling of joy and peace with the shepherds.
Can I say that?
The shepherds felt this heavenly joy and peace a bit.

Jesus also talked about a special Joy for his students:
Jesus said that when we love one another, his joy will be in us and that our joy may be complete. John 15:11

Jesus said that he wanted that his students may have the full measure of his joy within them. John 17:13

When we experience the Christ, we may feel joy.
If we truly understand what Jesus did for us, we may feel heavenly joy.
Jesus reconciled God and human beings.
In his name, God shows God’s compassion.
In his name, we can understand God.
If we truly understand, we may dance.
Sometimes, we feel joy and want to dance.
This feeling of Joy may in turn approve that we are in Christ.

Also do you know that when God is rejoicing over us, we may feel it?
At first, we may not understand why we feel this joy.
But we may feel it.
Our spirits may feel it.
When we know that this joy is from God’s heart, we may let this joy guide us.
We may let this joy lead us.

We try to discern God’s will.
We try to do what Jesus wants.
As we try to do that, we may feel this joy.
As we obey God in the right way, we may sense this joy.
This joy may stay with us, as we walk in the right path.
Even though we may not fully yet understand God, we may feel this joy, when God approves our actions.

Some feelings are from God.
We may also feel peace that Jesus gives.
The world cannot have this peace.
But we have this special Peace in Jesus.
Jesus teaches us so that we may have this peace. (John 16:33)
This peace can lead us.
The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, can also guide your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

We feel God’s heavenly peace in Jesus the Christ.
We are learning to keep this peace in our hearts by learning to obey and follow Jesus.
Then we may have this peace continually.
Then we may understand Jesus better and stay with him more.

Some people continue serving Jesus, even when they were persecuted.
Because they have this joy and peace within them.
Because God is with them, so the peace and joy of Jesus the Christ is with them.

I hope you remember when you sense heavenly joy, and heavenly peace.
I hope that you remember when you feel joy, and peace.
It can be a heavenly sign from God.
Sometimes, through those feelings, God guides you and speaks to us.
So think about that:
When do you experience the presence of God?
Then you may understand God better because of those experiences.
As you study them, you may learn what God is doing in your life.
Then those heavenly feelings may guide us to remain into God’s presence.

So let’s try to remember.
I am going to ask some questions so that you may remember and aware of some heavenly sign or feeling that you had during the week.
You may close your eyes to think about these questions.
Let me begin:

Think about what happened this week.
Try to remember your experiences.
Take your time.
What happened?
Who was involved?
What are the subtle aspects of your day?
What feelings did you experience?
What insights did you have?
What sensations were you aware of?
What did you notice?
What did you enjoy?

What brings you joy and peace?
It can be a place, a person, a time of day, an activity, a view, a color, a word, a song, a Scriptural verse, a character of Christ.
When do you feel joy, peace, freedom, love, and happiness?

Ask Christ Jesus to help you remember one or two moments or experiences for which you are grateful.
Is there one or two ways that Christ was present to you?
What helps you to move into the presence of Christ?
Can you sense that in that moment, that Christ provides life and energy?
Is Jesus Christ calling you to new awareness or to an action?
Give thanks to Christ for the day or week.
Give thanks to God.

That is it.
Did you notice anything new?
Did you remember when you feel heavenly peace, and joy?
Did you realize what God is doing in your life?

Again Jesus the Christ may give you some heavenly feelings so that you may know when Christ is near you and where Christ is leading you to.
God may guide your feeling so that you may believe God more fully.

But when we move away from God, God may remove these heavenly feeling so that we may know that we are off course.
God may remove those heavenly feelings when we walk on sinful ways or are about to commit sins.
But if you constantly ignore these signs, you may sense less.
Then later, you may not understand how Jesus may lead you.

Sometimes, when I am about to say what I should not say, I feel that the Holy Spirit gives me a nudge: “stop.”
The Holy Spirit may help me sense right at that moment.
Then I know what God's will is.
Sometimes, I obey.
But sometimes, I found myself saying what I want to say still.
So I am still learning to obey God.

Now some people may feel blue or depressed from time to time.
But if you remember when you sense the heavenly joy and peace, if you know what activities helps you feel these feelings of heavenly joy and peace, you may do those things to come out of those feeling of depression.
If you know what activities get you out of those feelings of depression, you may do them more.
But of course, these activities should be not harming or bothering other people.

So I told you many times, when I read the gospels in Modern Hebrew and pray, I often feel heavenly feelings or learn or sense how God want to lead me.
So I read everyday because I know that God seems speaking to me and bless me in this.

God empowers us so that we may want to live according to God's will.
Then God is working and trying to letting us know his will.

May we notice when God shares God’s joy and peace so that we may know and understand God more and better.
May we learn to let joy and peace lead us in Jesus.
May we learn to follow this heavenly joy, and peace that Jesus gives.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for guiding us through joy, and peace.
Help us to follow your lead.
Help us to arrive where you want us to be.

We also understand you are interested in the humble.
Help us to be a good friend and learn to live with them.
Help us to discern well.
In your name we pray.
Amen