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12/05/2016

STOLEN JOY

The angel said to him, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the
presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to
you and to tell you this good news" (Luke 1:19).
Read Luke 1:19-25.
 
It took a lot of behind-the-scenes work for us to get
that pool table. Our neighbors let mom and dad
stored it unassembled in their garage next door.
Then late Christmas Eve our neighbor and my dad
carried it piece by piece to our basement, where
dad spent all the night putting it together. But you
never saw a group of happier boys surrounding a
pool table than that Christmas morning.
 
This also should be Zechariah's greatest day.
Instead, his doubt and skepticism blinds him to
the joy and wonder of all that God has promised.
So the angel reveals his name: Gabriel. A priest
like Zechariah should certainly recognize him as
the angel God had sent several times to share
His message with Daniel.
 
Beyond that, Gabriel reminds the foolish priest
that he has come from the very presence of God
Himself. He received these words directly from
God and has come to bring this great message
of good news.
 
God has made Christmas such a joyous season,
but just like Zechariah we so often let the little
things in life steal our joy, along with our voice of
praise and thanksgiving to God. Agonizing over
our problems and self-absorbed, we miss the
peace and joy that God is carefully working
everything out for us. We fail to see that if God
has sent His Son to take care of our most
important problems, i.e. saving us from death
and His fiery wrath, He will certainly take care
of our mundane needs as well.
 
THE PRAYER:
 
 Heavenly Father, I have every reason to praise
You and declare Your glorious name to everyone
I see. Please turn me from fear, anger and
bitterness and fill me with Your Holy Spirit so I
may joyfully share Your good news this
Christmas and always. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
 
(Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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