CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
LET US RECEIVE GOD’S JOY!
getting closer to seeing God’s promises fulfilled as we are about to Christmas
Day. In the verses we read this morning, Mary has already been told by God what
is going to happen. We see Mary feeling the need to be with a trusted family
member who she has been told is also about to experience a bit of a miracle.
Mary leaves her home to go to where Elizabeth lives. She wants to see and hear
if what she had been told by the angel of the Lord is true. What Mary had been
told just is not possible, she thought. And yet she felt what she had experienced
was real and true. Elizabeth will be the one to prove one way or another if
what she had been told was really going to happen. We see the minute Mary
greeted Elizabeth something miraculous happened. The baby Elizabeth was
carrying leapt in her womb. And the minute that happened, Elizabeth was filled
with the Holy Spirit and began speaking, “Blessed are you among women and
blessed is the child you will bear. But why am I so favored, that the mother of
my Lord should come to me?” She went on to proclaim, “Blessed is she who has
believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” Why did she
say these things? Elizabeth without hesitation said as soon as your greeting
reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Elizabeth had no idea what
had happened to Mary until she heard her greeting. Then the Holy Spirit spoke
through not only Elizabeth, but also through the baby she was carrying. God
confirmed these things to Mary in another miraculous way. The world changing
event that would soon take place was so powerful even the unborn child’s joy
could not be contained.
As we get
closer to another Christmas celebration, is that unstoppable joy part of our
lives? Are we too easily bogged down by the things going on around us to
experience the true joy God wants us to have? When we see God’s promises comes
to pass, are we feeling the uncontrollable joy that God wants us to have? In
Psalms 132:13 we read, “For the Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his
dwelling: This is my resting place for ever and ever, here I will sit enthroned
for I have desired it. I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor will
I satisfy with food. I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints
will ever sing for joy. Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a
lamp for my anointed one. I will clothe his enemies with shame, but the crown
on his head will be respondent.” We are
told in scripture as God’s children we are a royal priesthood, we are the
saints of God. Because of what happened 2000 years ago, the joy spoken of in
Luke and again here in Psalms is ours to claim. As we also read when we lit the
advent candles, God’s hope for us is to experience his true joy.
In the next
two weeks, look for those places where God is reminding you of his joy. Also,
may God use us to bring joy to others as well. God’s promises are real.
Elizabeth knew it, Mary understood it. May God help each of us to receive and
share the true joy the Christmas season is all about. Salvation has come to us,
God’s people, because of what started at Christmas. That truly is the reason we
should experience the joy God has promised to us.
Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday—studying Hebrews
Hard copies of the December newsletter available in
Church of the Brethren Advent offering; envelopes
are available in the back for this special offering.
Poinsettias are $11. If you ordered one, please pay
December 22 7:00 Christmas Service here; we plan to have it on
facebook live as well. We’ll finish the service with communion and candlelight.
Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank
Donation Box: The Lord’s Storehouse
First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
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of the Brethren vision statement:
Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately
live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ
through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will
develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative,
adaptable, and fearless.
Our Mission Statement:
God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.