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Good News for the World

(Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 2:8-20)

Lesson 4 -- first quarter 2006
December 25, 2005

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2005

Probing Your Own Heart

Is Jesus really what this season is about for you?

What is your message this time of year?

Building on Some Foundational Concepts

The Baby came on a mission.

For the Christian, any remembrance of the Baby's birth ought to serve as a refresher course on the Baby's mission. Amazingly enough, He was in on the planning for His birth and His mission. So think about it. Meditate on it. What was Jesus' mission? What difference has it made for you? What impact does it have in your life today? Let His mission determine your mission!

The Good News and its accompanying joy is for everyone.

The angels said the good tidings of great joy was to be for all people. Has anything changed since then? When you see someone sad, mad, or indifferent -- the Good News and its joy is for her. When you see someone doing good or doing evil or being neutral -- the Good News and its joy is for him. When you hear of terrorists and their atrocities, of criminals and their crimes, of politicians and their misdeeds, of false teachers and their error -- the Good News and its joy is for them. And in no less measure than it is for you! Could it possibly be up to you to pray for them ("at least")?

The message is for me first.

All around me, near and far, exists undeniable proof that people need the message. Every day. All the time. Let me never miss seeing that. But may I never overlook my own need for the message. I must see it and receive it as intended for me first. Just as the shepherds long ago accepted the angelic message as that "which the Lord hath made known unto us" (Luke 2:15).

The message is for me to pass along.

The shepherds acted on the message as though it were given to them and for them. It's a good thing, because that is precisely how it was given! "I bring you good tidings of great joy," the angel had declared. But he also said it was to be "to all people" (Luke 2:10). So what did they do? "They made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child" (Luke 2:17). Let there be no doubt in my mind -- The message is for me to pass along!

Questions and Responses

How do I correct my focus during Christmas time?

Is this part of the year so different from any other part?! All the time we face a battle against forces determined to distract us from godliness. So correcting my focus at Christmas really is no different than correcting my focus on July 4 or April 15 or October 23.

Seek Him and His kingdom first. Set your affection on things above. Look unto Jesus. Draw nigh to God. Lay up treasures in heaven. Love the Lord will your all. Love your neighbor as yourself. Deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow Him.

What about nativity scenes in the public square?


Well...they can serve as a declaration and reminder of a culture's heritage. That's true enough. And it's also certainly true that when a society carelessly ignores or purposefully turns away from the godly aspects of its heritage, its loss is immeasurable.

But what should Christians do when civil authorities refuse to promote (or at least allow) manger scenes on government property?

Pray for the individuals' spiritual needs. Pray for your community, your country, and your society. Pray for yourself, your family, and your church. Then get out there and live the Christ-life! More than a manger scene in the public square (or in your congregation's parking lot), the world around you needs Jesus lived before them by you!

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