“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Foundation Scripture: Luke 2:8-14
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
The “holiday” season is here once again: shopping malls crammed with shoppers, Christmas music playing, candy and cakes for the sweet tooth, while the desperate shopper looks frantically for that bargain stocking stuffer hoping that that gift would put the sparkle in the eye of the one they love. This little ritual is played right up to 10:00pm on Christmas Eve – looking, hoping, and trying to find that perfect gift – a new Tickle Me Elmo or the right dress. However, the day after Christmas, the same mall is jammed once again with the recipients of the gifts trying to return them because they didn’t like them or because it was not the right size or color etc. The credit cards are now maxed out. Its money they did not have to spend. They did not have it so they charged it. Then the pain sets in – they know that the bill is on its way and wonder how in the world they are going to pay it off. Months will go by until that bill is finally settled and then the process begins again – a vain search by people trying to fill their heart with a joy that cannot be bought at any store and a joy that only Jesus can bring.
I think that they are missing a detail.
This joy that they are looking for is a joy that only Jesus can bring – this joy is the joy of Salvation – the joy of having your sin’s forgiven and having your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things, which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Once the shepherds heard about the baby Jesus they wanted to see Him. How will the world ever press in to find Him if they have never heard about Him? It’s important that everywhere we go this Christmas, we don’t just have carols and trees and eggnog and gifts while the real joy is never found. Remember whom the season is really about. Christ has been taken out of Christmas and Xmas has been left as another fairy-tale holiday with meaning. I tell you church family, that this season should be no different than any other time of the year. All year round we should be rejoicing over the fact that “Joy to the World – the Lord has come”!
He is alive and has come today to bring joy to you in the form of eternal life that springs up as a well of life and can become a river flowing out of you to touch a lost and dying world with the good news.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
The Wise Men came and worshipped Jesus and they opened their treasure bags and gave gifts to him – seeing this is His birthday we are reminded to not forget him and lavish Him with our love and our hearts and our gifts this season……………………after all it is His birthday not ours.