ADVENT JOY # 6 – Join the Chorus of Angels & Shepherds!

Needing More JOY and Peace?

Do you need a message that brings you MORE JOY and Peace? Join us today for the birth of our Savior. You will meet the Angels and the Shepherds who have a lot to teach us. In fact, united your heart with the Angel’s Gloria and the Shepherd’s praises will help you know more JOY and peace #podcast

The Adoration of the Shepherds by Domenico Zampieri

Do you need a message that brings MORE JOY and Peace? Join us today for the birth of our Savior and meet the Angels and the Shepherds who have a lot to share. In fact, uniting your heart with the Angel’s Gloria and the Shepherd’s praises will help you know more JOY and peace.

Traveling to Bethlehem

Welcome to Advent JOY Podcast #6, based on my book The Joy Of Advent: Journey With The People, Events And Prayers At The First Coming Of Jesus Christ.  Today, we return to the book of Luke. There we  join Blessed Mary and Joseph on their 80-mile journey to Bethlehem. When they arrive, they find it crowded with people, who like Mary and Joseph, had come at the command of Caesar Augustus. Join us today for:

No Home for the Creator of Creation (Luke 2: 1-7)

  • Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, in the City of David as prophesied by the Old Testament prophet Micah over 700 years earlier and recorded in Micah 5: 1-3.
  • Emperor Caesar Augustus, a master bookkeeper and statistician, likely wanted to keep track of his subjects and his kingdom by public enrollment.
  • Joseph would have to go to Bethlehem, as he was a descendent of King David. Mary went along too – she may have been required to register or Joseph wanted her with him.
  • Bishop Fulton J. Sheen explains: Joseph “searched in vain for a place where He, to Whom heaven and earth belonged, might be born. Could it be that the Creator would not find a home in creation? …  A stable would be the last place in the world where one would have looked for Him. Divinity is always where one least expects to find it. (Life of Christ, 1958, p. 13-24.
  • Jesus, God incarnate and the Savior of the world, was born and tightly wrapped in bands of cloths by his mother Mary and then laid in a manger where animals would feed.

The Good News (Luke 2: 8-11)

  • The angel’s message of “Good News” is summarized in the announcement by the angel (v. 10-11): “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the
  • We can say with assurance: Jesus is our Savior, who delivers us from sin and makes us right with God. He is our Messiah the anointed one who will inaugurate God’s Kingdom and reign as KING forever. He is our LORD, who has dominion overall.

The Fields Outside of Bethlehem (Luke 2: 12-20)

  • It is amazing that God chooses shepherds—the little, the lowly, the less important of the world (1 Corinthians 1: 28), but also calls himself a shepherd (e.g., “I am the Good Shepherd,” John 10:11). In Ezekiel 34:12-16, He describes himself as one who “shepherds rightly:” he tends sheep, rescues them, leads them, gives them rest, brings back the lost, binds up the injured, and heals the sick.
  • Jesus is our Shepherd: If at times you feel “lowly,” please know that Christ is YOUR Savior and Shepherd. He came for you! You are His little lamb, and He loves you.
  • Some of the shepherds around Jerusalem took care of the temple lambs used in the temple sacrifices. Shepherds would wrap lambs born without blemish in swaddling cloths and place them away from the others—even in a manger (e.g., Leviticus 4-5). It’s amazing that the shepherds who took care of the temple lambs used for sin offerings would be the first to recognize Jesus Christ, the one who came as our sin offering forever!

The Angel’s Gloria and the Shepherds Praises (Luke 2: 14-20)

  • We also find two beautiful choruses in v. 14-20. First, there’s the song (v. 14) called the Angel’s “Gloria” because the first word in in St. Jerome’s Latin translation is “Gloria.”
  • This song of the angels proclaimed peace to a world that needs peace, like we do right now. Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27, NABRE). The only place of true peace is found in Jesus and today we remind ourselves of this. We can join the angels in praise: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward all.”
  • The second chorus includes the shepherds’ praises (v. 20). They praised God for the good news from the angel and the song of the heavenly host of angels. From them we learn: Praising God for His goodness is a wonderful way to evangelize and get other’s attention on our Savior.

Mary Treasured and Pondered God’s Words (Luke 2: 19)

  • Mary “treasured and pondered” these things in her heart.
  • She gives an example for us in treasuring, pondering, and delighting in the things God has revealed, especially since we have the Word of God in Scripture.

Our Response

Try to prayerfully put yourself in the scenes and ask:

  1. Am I praising God for sending Jesus, as the Angels and shepherds did?
  2. Am I making a “manger” for Jesus in my heart as my Savior and Lord?
  3. Am I receiving the true joy and peace that Jesus offers?
  4. Am I treasuring God’s Word in my heart as Mary did?

Advent JOY #4 – Needing Calm? Seek Stillness with God!

Are you needing more calm in your life? Today, we are dropping in on a very special celebration of John the Baptist's birth. You might hold the baby, newly named John, or share with all the neighbour’s your astonishment at the miracle birth. You will hear Zechariah speak for the first time in 9 months. When he does, he teaches us the value of stillness with God. His silent retreat results in the joyous Benedictus blessing. #podcast

 Zechariah writes, His Name is John!

Needing Calm? Seek Stillness with God!

 Are you needing calm in your life? Today, we are dropping in on a very special celebration of John the Baptist’s birth. You might hold the baby, newly named John, or share with all the neighbors your astonishment at the miracle birth.  You will hear Zechariah speak for the first time in 9 months. When he does, he teaches us the value of stillness with God. His silent retreat results in the joyous Benedictus blessing. Stillness with God will do the same for you, giving you more joy and peace!

Advent JOY & the Celebration at Zechariah’s Home

Welcome to Advent JOY Podcast #4, based on my book The Joy Of Advent: Journey With The People, Events And Prayers At The First Coming Of Jesus Christ.

Today, we are going to a celebration at Zechariah’s home. It’s the circumcision and naming of his newborn boy.  Can’t you just picture yourself as one of the neighbors who has come to help name the baby born to the old priest Zechariah and his aged wife Elizabeth.  Can you hear yourself say:

“This must be some kind of child—a miracle baby!  What a blessing from the Lord for Elizabeth! Poor old Zechariah was struck mute the last time he went up to serve in the temple.”  Join the podcast as we cover these exciting points:

The Circumcision and the Sacrament of Baptism (Luke 1: 56-59)

  • The neighbors come to celebrate the birth and help with the circumcision.
  • Circumcision was established as a rite by God under the Old Covenant, usually performed on the 8th day after birth. It was a mark on a male and a sign that he was in covenant with God, sanctified for divine service and a member of the Jewish people.
  • Under the New Covenant, circumcision is not a religious ritual for us (Galatians 5: 6).
  • The ritual of circumcision has a few similarities to the Sacrament of Baptism: It is celebrated with family and friends and Godparents.
  • For the Christian, baptism is a sign one belongs to Christ, is united with Him in His death, and is incorporated into the Church (Hahn, Catholic Bible Dictionary).

The Neighbors Want to Name the Baby Zechariah (Luke 1: 60-66)

  • When Elizabeth, says no to the name, Zechariah confirms, His name is JOHN.
  • Immediately, Zechariah’s mouth is open and his tongue is freed.
  • St. Ambrose writes, “With good reason was his tongue loosed, because faith untied what had been tied by disbelief.”

 Zechariah’s Silent Retreat Results in Joyous Benedictus Blessings (Luke 1: 67-79)

  • In stillness with God, Zechariah grew in faith, peace and trust.
  • Benedictus means Blessed be..the Lord.
  • Zechariah’s prophecy is called a canticle which means “little song”- a liturgical song from a Biblical text.
  • Zechariah expresses thanks for: (1) The promises that would be fulfilled in the Messiah (Genesis 22: 16-17; Exodus 2: 24; Ezekiel 36: 28) and (2) His Son John, prophet of the Most High, who would go before the Lord to prepare His way, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins.

Responding to the Scripture

  • Seek God in stillness. Pick out a morning or evening during Advent. Turn off all media and be present with the Lord in adoration, prayer, and Scripture. Sit with Him and LISTEN. You may find new vision, new peace and a deeper relationship with God – the one God wants with you.
  • Let God redeem you. If you are living in any darkness or carrying baggage, Jesus wants to carry your baggage, forgive your sin, and give you peace. “By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

You can download a Bookmark of prayer points from the Advent JOY Podcast #4 at my website: WRAPyourselfinJOY.com.

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Click here to find the book: The Joy of Advent: Journey with the People, Events and Prayers at the First Coming of Jesus Christ.