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YOU ARE VERY WELCOME! DEC. 7, 2021


 
 

Luke 2:8-20


8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,


14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”


15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”


 

Often, what’s good news for some is devastating for others.


For example, a promotion is good news if you’re the one getting promoted. A surprise pregnancy is good news for the couple who has been trying for years. But when you’re the one who feels passed over for the promotion, or the teen who isn’t ready for parenthood, the same news that brought joy to others might bring tears to you. My guess is we all have experienced this in some way.


That’s part of what makes the angel’s announcement so extraordinary. When the angel appears to the shepherds, he brings “good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). This wasn’t good news for some and bad news for others. This was good news for everyone.


“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” - Luke 2:10

Jesus, the promised rescuer, had arrived. Things were going to be different. And not just for some, but for everyone.


The fact that the angel delivered this news to a group of shepherds shows the kind of king Jesus would be. His kingdom wasn’t reserved for the wealthy or the elite. The good news of the kingdom of God, as Jesus declared it, and live it, was that this kingdom was and is open to all. This was a solid promise to anyone and everyone, that the kingdom of God had come near in Jesus, and anyone and everyone no matter what their story might be, was invited to lean in and follow and learn and discover this “great Joy” of the favor of God. The news about Jesus was so good the shepherds had to see it for themselves (Luke 2:20). Notice, that once they saw, they went back to their work, their everyday life, but with a difference they went to the fields glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.


This is one of the great truths that took me a long time to believe. That Jesus invites me to come, Just as I am. The authentic me, with the scars and brokenness and harmful selfish attitudes and actions. I thought I had to “clean up” before I could “enter in”. So, I stayed at a distance. That is not the case, the Bible, Jesus’ teaching and actions demonstrates this repeatedly. Come Just as you are!! Look back at our reading, the angel met the shepherds in a field at night, as these shepherds were involved in doing the everyday things of life, and the implication is, that Jesus meets us right where we are today.

That’s good news! That’s VERY GOOD NEWS!!


TAKE AWAY


How does it make you feel to know that Jesus’ kingdom is inclusive to everyone?


How have you practiced this inclusive attitude?


Who have you “excluded” from the reach of grace?

 

PRAYER


God of welcome, God of the stranger.

We come as strangers.

We come as those who you welcome.

We come as those called to welcome.


Christ, who reached across all lines

Messiah who looked the “other” in the eyes with love.

Challenge us with your radical example of love.

Stretch us to engage the way you engage.

Humble us to receive and be.


Spirit who challenges,

Spirit who connects,

Urge us to compassion,

Break down our resistance,

Strengthen our resolve,

Tear open our hearts,

Mobilize our minds,

Flow through our bodies,

As Your

vessels who will be conduits of

welcome,

compassion,

justice

and

love.

Amen

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