Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Good News: Great Joy!

This is the outline of the lesson from 2014-12-21.


  • ASK What is your favorite Christmas movie?
  • ASK What is your favorite Christmas song (hymn, secular, whatever)?
  • ASK What is your favorite family Christmas tradition?
  • SAY When I was growing up, whoever in our family was in town would gather on Christmas Eve, and we would read the Christmas story from Luke 2, around in a circle, one verse at a time. So that’s what we’re going to do now.
  • HAND OUT the handout, and read it in a circle.


  • We already read about the shepherds.
    • ASK What are some of the things we’ve heard about them? (Low-lifes, tended the sheep for the official sacrifices, etc)
    • ASK How much do we know from the text? (Not much)
    • SAY From external sources, we know
      • they were not allowed to testify in court;
      • Pig farmers were worse than shepherds.
  • When Michael & Andrew were little, they would say, “It’s dark at night,” and we thought it was cute. But darkness was something the shepherds understood. So when the glory of the Lord shone around them and there was an angel there, they were terrified. So the angel said “Don’t be afraid.”
  • ASK Why not be afraid? (Good news: great joy)
    • Good news = Gospel
    • I looked at a lot of translations, and there were 2 basic ways to phrase this:
      • Good news that brings or causes great joy
      • Good news of great joy
    • ASK (Thinking question) Can you see a difference between them?
      • The good news results in great joy, vs.
      • The good news is great joy.
    • ASK What is the source of the joy?
      • For unto you is born (Isaiah 9:6) Savior/Christ/Lord
        • “Savior” = “Joshua” = “Jesus”
        • “Christ” = “Messiah”
        • “Lord” = “God” (Psalm 110:1)
  • What does “multitude of the heavenly host” mean? (The army of heaven)
    • Why an army? (READ Joshua 5:13–14a) The angels were there because their commander was taking a new form — a baby.
    • What was the army doing? (Saying “Glory to God …”)
    • READ TOGETHER 2:14.
    • “Peace” — An army is there declaring peace. We aren’t talking about the old Yugoslavia, where they had peace at the pointy end of a gun. And we aren’t talking about warm fuzzies. Or the peace of God, i.e., the peace that God has within himself. (We can have that, too, but that’s not what it means here.) We’re talking about peace with God the way Romans 5 talks about it: No longer at war with God.

At the barn

  • They go and find Jesus, wrapped up and in the feed trough just the way the angel said. And they told people.
  • “All who heard it wondered,” as in finding it wondrous, wonderful.
  • God had Luke learn about this and write it down for us, so that we can wonder, too.
    • Wonder at the Savior — the one who came to pay for your sins.
    • Wonder at the Messiah — the one who came to free his people from their slavery to sin.
    • Wonder at the Lord — the one who “rules the world in truth and grace.”
  • And this is the message we have: A Savior (Jesus), Christ the Lord.

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