Advent – Week 3

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This coming Sunday, 12/12, marks the start of the 3rd week in Advent. I hope you?re finding ways to focus your heart and mind on Christ in this time leading up to Christmas.

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This week, I?ve been thinking a lot about the announcement of Jesus birth. In Luke 2:8-20  we are told that an Angel of the Lord appeared to group of shepherds to announce the birth of Christ. To be honest, I?ve read this story many times without stopping to consider the significance of this passage.

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Recently, my wife and I had our second child. Shortly after his birth, I was on the phone making calls to family and friends. We announced it through other means, but the first to know got a personal phone call. Not everyone made the “phone list”, only those who are closest to us, those who hold a place of honor in our lives. In this passage in Luke, we see that the shepherds made the “phone list”. They weren?t chosen at random. God is never random. There is tremendous significance in the fact that shepherds were among the first to know of Christ?s birth. A few things that stick out to me about this:

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  • God is for everyone. The shepherds didn?t do anything to deserve being on the “phone list”. We?ve learned recently in our Galatians sermon series that salvation is for all people. The requirement is faith in Christ. Jesus, plus nothing. God has opened wide the gates of grace. Salvation is available to all.
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  • God is not impressed with our status.  Shepherds weren?t high on the social/economic ladder. You might expect Christ?s birth to be announced to people of power and wealth, or maybe to the religious leaders of the day. The fact that God chose to announce to shepherds is indicative of his compassion for all.  In I Corinthians 1, Paul writes about how God uses the foolish things of this world to shame the wise.
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  • God is our shepherd. The Old Testament is full of shepherd imagery. Again and again God is described as the loving shepherd who cares for his sheep. In John 10, Jesus describes himself as the good shepherd who lays his life down for his sheep. In Matthew 18, Jesus describes God as a shepherd who goes after his lost sheep.
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??The announcement of Christ?s birth, an announcement the Jews had eagerly awaited for hundreds of years, didn?t come to the spiritual elite. It came to some ordinary shepherds. Let this be a reminder to us of revolutionary message of the Gospel.
3 more suggestions to focus your heart this Advent season.??

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  • Read Luke 2 and journal about what God is teaching you.
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  • Consider what gift you can give Christ this Christmas. It?s his birthday, but we give each other gifts. What can you give Him?
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  • Share the Christmas story with a friend. We read in Luke 2, that after seeing Jesus, the shepherds went and told others about Christ. Who do you know that needs to hear the real Christmas story?
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??Grace,
Chris