Love Came Down, Part 2 – “Joy”

Luke 1:8-22


What do you want for Christmas this year?

A)Never forget the year – I was hoping my parents would get me a new Bike


B)Christmas morning – got up raced out to the tree –

No bike – no big box

1)Things got worse – started opening gifts –


C)One Package – Underwear / another socks

Another school supplies – Parents – flipped

1)Couple shirts and small toys


D)All done opening the gifts – thinking worse Christmas ever

1) My Dad said – go into the garage get a trash bag for the wrapping paper –


E)Opened door turned on the light – there it was



That year – that Bike was my best friend


Totally surprised - 


Our God is good at Surprises too!



In Isaiah Ch. 55 God declares that His ways and thoughts are different from ours.

A)When it comes to God and us – we don’t think alike and we don’t act alike


B)Now I can appreciate that about God when I read the Bible –

1)But I can wrestle with it when it involves my life.


C)I can appreciate when reading the story in Genesis where God picks a very old man – Abe 75 – who’s wife is barren


D)God picks this couple and says – you are going to have a son – and I am going to make you a great nation –

1)In fact from your line all the nations of the world are going to be blessed.


E)Then God has Abe wait decades for that Son to come!

1)I read that and I can appreciate God’s sense of timing in Abe’s life.


But boy can I wrestle with His timing in my own life!






I read the Story in Exodus how God spared Moses as a Baby – all Jewish male babies were being killed

A)Moses is spared snatched up out of the Nile river by Pharoah’s daughter raised in Egypt – Prince


B)But before God can really use Moses He is going to strip him of everything – humble him

1)Take him to the Desert and make him a nobody dealing with his pride


C)I see the wisdom in God doing that – in the Life of Moses


D)But when God starts dealing with my Pride – I don’t like that – not fair


E)Hey I don’t mind watching God deal with the Pride in your life – { GO God

1)Leave me alone


I love in the book of Judges how God takes a guy by the name of Gideon out of his comfort Zone

A)He calls Gideon and challenges him and uses him beyond his wildest dreams -


B)I love Gideon’s story – but I have to admit – I don’t always enjoy when God decides to shake me out of my comfort Zones


C)He can rock and Shake up your world all He wants to – I will encourage you – cheer you on

Now I am sure that most of you have had your own struggles with God’s thoughts & Ways in your life

A)Like me you have been uncomfortable when he has made you wait


B)Uneasy when He decides to deal with your pride


C) Unnerved when God stretches you and takes you out of your comfort Zone!


But you see those Stories that I mentioned and so much of the Bible remind us of this Fact

A)The God that we serve is Incredibly unpredictable in the way He does  things – How he chooses to work

               FULL OF SURPRISES


B)One of the places where we clearly see that Fact is in the Christmas Story


C)But the Christmas story also teaches us of the Joy we can experience when we abandon ourselves to that God!


Dean Willimon called  Christmas  “a delightful disruption of the way things normally go.”


Unusual Cast of Characters, Incredible birth announcement, Interesting audience, unlikely birth place, and Unbelievable Joy!


#1 Unusual cast of Characters

A)The Story Starts with a Elderly Priest and His elderly Wife – Barren – past age of child birth     


B)Every direct descendant of Aaron was automatically a priest.

1)The Priest were divided into twenty-four Divisions. 1000 priest each – 24,000 men


Bb)That meant that for all ordinary purposes there were far too many priests.


C)Only at the Big 3  Passover, Pentecost and  the Feast of Tabernacles did all the priests serve.

1)For the rest of the year each division served two periods of one week each.



Every morning and evening sacrifice was made for the whole nation.

A)Before the morning sacrifice and after the evening sacrifice incense was burned on the altar – aroma ….


B)Now Within the sections of Priest all the duties were allocated by lot.

1) It was quite possible that a priest would never have the privilege of burning incense in his entire time of service.


C)On this day the lot fell on Zacharias and he would have been no doubt very excited.   RD V.10-22

So Zach comes out pp are thinking – he was in there a long time – Special word – Can’t talk

A)Be like being in the Choir – Yrs your turn to do the Solo – Step up the mic – nothing happens


B)Always you have ever wanted to do is preach a sermon – dreamed of it –

1) Your Chance – Nothing


C)A Priest lived for this moment – go in and burn incense come out Bless the People

1)Big moment  - Can’t talk


When His time of service was over he rushes home finds out that his wife indeed was pregnant.

A)He somehow communicates to her what happened


B)We jump ahead nine mths 8 days after the baby was born V.59 –

59 So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. 60 His mother answered and said,"No; he shall be called John."

61 But they said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name."

 62 So they made signs to his father — what he would have him called. {Imagine being there


63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, "His name is John." So they all marveled. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God.

So we see this couple filled with Joy as they embrace God’s plan & abandon themselves to this unpredictable God.

A)Old couple – But also a young couple


B)Old and young being used together –

1)Like how God does that


C)I am concerned with those movements in the Church that want to separate pp by age groups

1)Old don’t understand the young

2)The young feel like those old guys have nothing to teach us –


D)Yet this is common thing God does – He mixes it up – Young and old used together


Next we see a Young couple – Joseph and Mary

A)Joseph is a simple carpenter – Mary young girl

Betrothed to be married


B)They live in the Arm Pit of Israel Nazareth

1)Anything good…. Come


C)Not only is it very unlikely that the Messiah could come from Nazareth –


D)But it is very unlikely that anything good could come out of there!



Mary is a godly young Virgin girl who gets a Visit from Gabriel – Chosen to give birth to the Messiah A)She is going to be supernaturally impregnated by God


B)Mary knows that this has potential to cause problems between her and Joseph

1)Disgrace for her family name – Ridicule for sure

             Yet notice her response: Luke 1:38


38 Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.


C)She abandons herself to the will of God – Result Joy fills her heart – V.39 She goes to Visit Elizabeth and when she enters the house –


D)Mary’s heart is filled with Joy -Song fills her heart


46 And Mary said:

"My soul magnifies the Lord,

47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.


Question you might be ask – Did they really have a choice.

A)Sure – see they could have grumbled and complained – been miserable –

B)Mary could have spent 9months arguing with God – mad at God – bitter – She didn’t do that


C)That is my point – God was being very unpredictable and Zach & Liz / Mary and Joseph

1)They just rolled with it – Result – JOY!


Jump ahead to Ch. 2 Mary and Joseph have traveled to Bethlehem – Ceaser Census - …. Birth place

A)God’s way of getting Prophecy fulfilled – using the ego of a Pagan king{ How many pp do I have


#2 Incredible Birth Announcement!

Luke 2:8-14


8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.


V.10 I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is [Christ] the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, 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, goodwill toward men!" 

Incredible birth announcement –

A)Angelic messenger-  Angelic Choir – Heavenly Host – a lot !  


B)Now your talking God! That is the way to do it !


C)Message fit for Kings -  Message for Rome – Message for Jerusalem! For the World!

1)Granduer splendor


But you have to admit this is #3 An  Interesting Audience:  Shepherds

Practice – speech – song – curtain/ what ? Promotion

A) Shepherds Lowest group on the social scale –


B)Old guys in bath robes dropped out of Jr High

Why Shepherds?


C) Well a mile north of Bethlehem there is a flat area in the plains called Migdal Eder { 5miles from Jers


D)Genesis 35 we learn that after Rachel died – Jacob went and pitched his tent there- near tower


Because it was such a flat area there – great crazing they built a tower there to watch the flocks at night

A)This was a place where they could keep a lot of sheep


B)Over time this became the place where they raised the lambs that would be used in the temple sacrifice


C)Every year at Passover Jewish pp by the 10,000’s would come from all over Israel to Jerusalem

1)They had to sacrifice a 1 yr old lamb w/out blemish


D)Most scholars believe that these were the Shepherds in Migdol Eder who were responsible for raising those lambs – discerning ones w/out blemish


Which when you think about it makes this group the perfect audience to receive the announcement that the Lamb of God – had come into the world

A)Jesus came as God’s lamb – the final Sacrifice to pay the price for the sins of the World


15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." 16 And they came [with haste ]and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Haste= radical frenzy


#4 An Unlikely Birthplace A Manger?  CAVE

Christmas parties this time of year – interesting practice – White elephant gift –

A)Not sure where the name came from – but I know what it means


B) White elephant gift is a  gag gift / 2nd or 3rd rate gift/ outcast gift - THIRFT STORE REJECT

1) Pink Flamingo Boxers – Coffee mug honoring the inventors of Post it notes – The Donny & Marie Osmond CD


C) What is interesting about White elephant gifts – Usually wrapped up extra nice – Only to reveal – a not so nice Gift


D) God did the Opposite – He sends the greatest gift to man the world has every witnessed – His Son to be born as a baby – to be the Savior

1) Packaging was Poor – Born in Stable / wrapped in Swaddling clothes


Symbolism is perfect

A)Stable is a perfect picture of our lives before Christ – Messy & Smelly because of  Sin –


B)But when Jesus comes into that messy smelly place it becomes HOLY!

1)Shepherds come and they don’t see the mess – they see the SAVIOR


C)They don’t smell the stench- instead they smell the sweetness of God’s Grace!


D)That is what happens when Jesus is allowed into the Stable of our hearts –

1)Become Holy – Fragrance of God’s grace

Jesus comes to clean up the mess – Turns the stink of our lives into that which smells sweat

A)Also interesting – Bethlehem = House of Bread


B)Jesus bread of Life – Hungry – empty – Void

1)Jesus came to fill.


C) [Lesson] from our perspective God’s ways often don’t make sense –

1)His vantage pt Perfect sense


17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.


Most Joy filled pp that night were these shepherd

Running thru the Streets proclaiming that Messiah had Come!



Joy is one of the major themes of  Christmas

A)Several of our favorite carols mention it: “Joy to the world, the Lord is come,”

“O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,”

“Joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies, with th’ angelic host proclaim, ‘Christ is born in Bethlehem.’”


B)But a lot of pp don’t understand Joy -

We tend to confuse Joy and happiness – Happiness is based on happenings – Get the raise – the bonus – win the game/ right gift – happy

A)Joy is different{ Joy is a state of being –


B)Joy is experienced when I abandon myself to this unpredictable God – go with the flow.


C)Joy happens when I rest in his wisdom – trust in His promise – embrace – His timing


D)Then I can be surprised by Joy!


There's alot of talk these days about positive mental attitude - good self-esteem – we all need to be the best we can be!

A)The Human potential movement says man is still evolving. He's yet to reach his highest potential.


B)I agree that man is not a fraction of what he can be or will be - but the critical error being made today is this –

1)Man is not rising upward, He has fallen downward. As Augustine put it, "Man is a good thing spoiled".


B)Man lost his glory because he rebelled against God – and his glory won’t be restored apart from God.


C)I'm sure you've noticed that today "everyone is trying to find themselves".  Reinvent themselves


The irony is you can't really find yourself - you can't discover your true purpose and identity and destiny, until you find Jesus.

A)Jesus is man as man was meant to be!


B)God wants you to reach you're full human potential, but you do so not by esteeming self, but by esteeming the Savior.


C)You’ve heard the advertisements, “Be all that you can be in your life, join the Army.”

1)My apologies to the recruiters, but the only way to be all that you can be is not by joining the Army, but by joining Jesus.


Joy happens when I abandon myself to the will of this wild and unpredictable God

A)Who loved me enough to send his son – to pay the price for my sins


B)God is still full of Surprises –


C) Instead of abandoning themselves to this wild unpredictable and exciting God – A lot of pp only make Demands of him – Like some kids do with Santa


“Dear Santa Last year you didn’t bring me anything good – the yr before you didn’t bring me anything good – this yr is your last chance” Signed Bobby

          Last Chance to do it my way  God

 Another Letter: Dear Santa in my house there are 3 boys: Daniel is 2 Jeffery is 4 / Justin is 7 – Daniel is good sometimes / Jeffery … sometimes / but Justin is good all of the time – signed Justin

God I deserve you to act this way in my life


C)Joy comes – Abandon myself to God in my relationships –

1)Difficult person – through your grace I will love them


C)Job loss – I am going to trust you


D)Single waiting for a mate – I will serve you – make the most of my time


E)Work pressure – I realize – I am here for a greater purpose


Choice – Embrace or complain – that will be the difference in your Christmas – Joy or not

A)You might experience Happiness this Christmas if you get the gift hoping for –


B)Happy until it breaks – or new model comes out


C)Joy can be ours each day – as we abandon ourselves to God

1)Go ahead Surprise Me