On the first Christmas night an angel appeared to a group of shepherds out in the fields. The angel said, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (St. Luke 2:10,11) The angel announced the arrival of great joy. We all have a desire for joy; it is natural to us. I believe that desire was implanted in us by our Creator Himself. Following his conversion, after pursuing joy in many places for many years, St. Augustine wrote, “You stir man to take pleasure in praising you, because you made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
We long for joy and our hearts are restless. We do, however, see and experience glimpses of joy from time to time. We get a glimpses of joy in a baby’s smile, a beautiful sunset, a moving symphony, or the warm feeling we have at this season of the year. We all have longings for joy, but we don’t know exactly what joy really is. We have these glimpses, but they are only glimpses and vanish away all too quickly. In our desire to experience joy and hold onto it we turn to substitutes for the real thing. C. S. Lewis in Surprised By Joy wrote, “I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for Joy.”
William Hendricksen tells us that true joy has three essential characteristics. He wrote, “It satisfies, lasts, and even keeps on increasing....” Mere pleasure doesn’t measure up to this standard because pleasure doesn’t fully satisfy, last very long, or increase, but rather diminishes. In The Pilgrim’s Regress Lewis wrote, “What does not satisfy when we find it, was not the thing we were desiring.” This simply means that most of our pursuits of joy end up taking us down dead end streets.
At the birth of Jesus Christ the door to real joy was opened. This joy which the angel announced is connected to something he called “good news.” Good news is one word in Greek and is often translated “gospel.” The Good News is the fact that Christ came to be our Savior. He is called Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” The reception of this Good News through faith in Jesus Christ gives us the joy our hearts desire. This joy fulfills all the requirements. The Gospel of Jesus Christ satisfies our restless hearts; it will last for all eternity and increases in this life and in the world to come. As St. Peter put it, “Though you do not see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (I Peter 1:8,9) Through faith in Jesus Christ we experience joy now in this present life. We also look forward in hope to Christ’s return and the ushering in of God’s Kingdom where we shall experience joy for all eternity. On that first Christmas the angel announced and gave the promise of great joy to all who will receive it. Could there be any better news than that?
By Rev. F. M. Levi
The Woman’s Guild held their annual Spaghetti Supper on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009. The event was very successful in raising money for missions.
The St. Andrew’s Preschool Thanksgiving Program took place Thursday morning, Nov. 19, 2009.
The Tinley Park Ministerial Association conducted its annual Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009, at Faith Christian Reformed Church.
A Food Basket is provided in the narthex for contributions during December for the Tinley Park Food Pantry. Please bring food items to help this worthy cause.
Gifts for the Crisis Center’s children and their moms are being accepted by the Woman’s Guild until Christmas week. A list of suggested gifts is provided in the narthex. A box in there for your gifts.
Please help decorate the church on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. for Advent & Christmas. Lunch will be provided.
The Woman’s Guild will have their annual Christmas Bazaar and Bake Sale Dec. 13th after Holy Communion. It will take place during our regular 2nd Sunday Coffee Hour.
Our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service is Thursday, Dec. 24, 2009 at 11 p.m.
Refreshments will be served before the service in the Parish Hall at 10:00 p.m. A sign-up sheet for food items to bring for refreshments is provided on the bulletin board.
MISSIONARY OF THE MONTH
Rev. & Mrs. William Jerdan (Diane) are missionaries to France.
The Jerdans are on furlough for a year. They will be coming to visit St. Andrew’s Anglican Church during 2010.
Dec. 7 - Sunny Stiklius
Dec. 10 - Renee Hassert
Dec. 11 - Loretta Sellers
Dec. 16 - Barney Reagan
Dec. 17 - Robyn Poole
Dec. 17 - William O'Brien
Dec. 18 - Thomas Bowman
Dec. 19 - Kathy Kelly
Dec. 20 - Leah Andricopolus
Dec. 27 - Tom Kelly
Tidings Of Joy
Tidings of great joy that we love to sing,
Tell the blessed story of a baby King;
He came down from heaven to a manger low,
On that Christmas Day many years ago.
Pure and clear and bright as the Christmas star,
So His love shines on from manger bed afar.
He’s our promised Saviour, loud His praises sing,
Worship and adore Him, the newborn King!
- Margaret N. Freeman
I am no shepherd hurrying
To Bethlehem today,
To kneel and worship at the feet
Of the Christ Child in the hay.
I am no Wise Man journeying
From distant land afar,
To bring a gift of precious worth
As guided by a star.
Yet I do come worshipping
And humbly kneeling, too,
To give to God my loving heart,
And so, I hope, will you!
- Grace Krogh Boller
Where to Find Christmas
You must have Christmas in your heart,
It’s not found under a tree.
It must dwell in the heart of folk
Exactly like you and me.
Christmas is love for all mankind;
Christ brought that kind of love
When He came to this earth to live,
From heaven up above.
It is a love that speaks of peace;
Goodwill it brings to men;
When God’s great love dwells in our hearts,
We will have Christmas then.
- Ethel Durnal Posegate