CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
December 12, 2021
LET US RECEIVE GOD’S JOY!
We are 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 back.
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 Shirley W.
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 you!
Donation Box: The Lord’s Storehouse
First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
To keep up on Church of the Brethren news:
Denomination: www.brethren.org/news Sign up for Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.
District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link) and on facebook
Our pages: cerrogordocob.com (printed sermon, announcements, & calendar) and on facebook
Larry & Luana Cripe; Devon Wright; Dan & Val Rokosch; Shirley Krall; Baby Gemma; Baby Tate; Maralyn & Galen Heckman; Bryce Ashenfelter; Andy Flenner and family; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Randy West; Jen Durst; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike Gentry; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Anna Gentry Thompson; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 795,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
Church 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:
Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.