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Good News of a Great Joy

The angels who appeared to the shepherds that first Christmas came to proclaim joy to the world. If that is true why is it that so few people experience joy? Why is there so much pain, sorrow and suffering in the world?

The joy the angel spoke of is connected with what the angel called the “good news.” What is this good news? The angel said, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (St. Luke 2:11) The good news is the message that a Savior has been born. God has a plan of salvation, which was accomplished by His Son Jesus Christ. We human beings have had the offer of forgiveness, acceptance by God and eternal life offered to us for the mere asking. What better news could there possibly be?
The good news has come to the world, but not the experience of joy. Why not? The simple fact is that the joy only comes after we have received the good news into our hearts and lives.

When King Herod heard the good news from the wise men we read, “He was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him....” (St. Matthew 2:3) King Herod received the message that the Christ had been born, but that message caused no joy, only fear, hatred, sorrow and the desire to destroy the new born Savior.

Why was this so? St. John described the birth of Jesus in this way, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.” (St. John 1:1-5)

Why do people lack joy? Because they refuse to come out into the light. The light of Christ is a light of truth. It is a revealing light which shows us what we really are. Jesus said, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (St. John 3:19,20)

Herod heard that the light had come into the world and his first impulse was to extinguish the light. We can only experience the joy of Christ if we are willing to come into the light of Christ and be forgiven and cleansed of sin.

Many years later Jesus met a woman at a well in Samaria. This woman was confronted by the blazing light of Christ. In the course of a conversation about salvation Jesus said to the woman, “`Go, call your husband and come back` `I have no husband` she replied. Jesus said to her`, `You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.`” (St. John 4:16-18)

How did this woman react to the light of truth? Did she feel insulted? Was her response like that of King Herod who tried to kill the infant Christ?

At the end of her conversation with Jesus we read, “Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, `Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?`” (St. John 4:28,29) In sharp contrast to King Herod, this woman was so overjoyed that she came back to town and told everyone about Christ. Instead of fleeing from the light she welcomed the light which is a cleansing light.

God wants us to experience joy. But joy only comes as we are willing to receive the good news that the Light has come into the world.

by Frank M. Levi

Parish News
The ladies of the Woman’s Guild had their annual Spaghetti Dinner on October 24, 1998. The dinner was very successful and we thank everyone who helped in any way.

Bake Sale
During coffee hour on Sunday, December 13, 1998. Sponsored by the Woman’s Guild.

Happy Birthday!
Dec. 11 - Loretta Sellers
Dec. 16 - Barney Reagan
Dec. 20 - Leah Zoe Andricopulos

Founders Day
December 2, 1873. The founding of the Reformed Episcopal Church.

Missionary of The Month

Domestic Missions
Pray for the Church of St. Philip the Evangelist in Schaumburg, Il. and the missioner Ken Rick and his wife Pat. This is a church planting mission of St. Andrew’s.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
This beautiful tradition continues at the St. Andrews-Cheney Memorial Church. For many years the Parish has joined together in a candlelight service of carols, prayers, and praise, to usher in Christmas. We know that you will want to be with us at 11:00 P.M. on Christmas Eve, as we remember the child who was born to be our Savior. Light refreshments will be served after the service in the Parish Hall. We look forward to seeing you.

Listen To The Christmas Tree

It Speaks of:
The Christmas tree, and evergreen, speaks to us of LIFE, and reminds us that Christmas is the festival that is all about LIFE. Christians through the ages have used the color green as the symbol of Life. The tree points upward to heaven signifying that all LIFE is the gift from God.

The lights on the tree call to mind that Jesus, whose birth we celebrate, is the LIGHT of the world.

As fruit adds to the beauty of a tree, so ornaments on the Christmas tree add beauty and luster. Similarly, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness - fruits of the Spirit are ornaments that make more attractive the life of a Christian.

The star atop the tree symbolizes HOPE. To the Wise Men the star brought HOPE.

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