God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” Luke 1:26b-28 (NLT)
The angel said to this frightened, pregnant teenager: Mary, you have found favor with God. The word is charis; often translated in the New Testament as "grace," the unmerited favor of God. Dr. Strong calls this word "...the divine influence on the heart, which is reflected in the life." The word has its' origin in a basic word that means to be cheerful, or calm about life's conditions.
So the Christmas angel is saying to this girl in real trouble, "There is every reason to be calm, God is smiling, and He wants you to smile with Him." If I were Mary, my response would have been something like, "Yeah, right...check it out; I'm engaged, and not even old enough to date, and you're telling me I'm pregnant, and Joseph's going to buy it that the Holy Ghost did this. You don't understand the trouble I'm in big fella! What have I got to smile about?"
And today you might be facing the same uncertainties about life that Mary carried around - You're worried that the mortgage won't get paid, or that your job is going to be phased-out; Christmas is coming and there's too much month left over at the end of the money as it is. Maybe your marriage is in trouble, or the doctor has just used the "c-word" (cancer).
And Preacher, you want me to smile because there is a God who's smiling? Uh-huh!
The sound of the Christmas angel was not just Good news; it was the BEST news this old world has ever heard. To all the anxiety, fear, and stress - all the discordant notes of hell, the Christmas angel announced the holy message: "God has said 'ENOUGH!' Let there be singing, and laughter, and joy. My Son is born, and I am smiling!"
The sound of the Christmas angel was a chorus of Good News, not just Good advice!
Good news is so wonderful. At the end of World War II the surrender of hostile forces to the Allied countries was good news. The discovery of a polio vaccine was good news. We await the announcement of the end of cancer...it will be good news.
GOOD NEWS! We recognize the announcement of good news, but what of the meaning? What will happen? The Good News of the end of WW2 was that the boys were coming home, families would be whole again, and the body bags would stop being shipped home. Polio vaccine meant an end to the horror of a mother and dad's anguish when the doctor would say this arm, or leg would never be used. The Good News of a cure for cancer would mean death has been cheated again.
What of the meaning of the Good News of the Christmas Angel? Is there a difference this Good News will make in my life?
I want to place before you this morning the Bible's uncompromising message of faith and hope, that the good news of the Christmas angel is above the end of a world war, or the discovery of great medicines, or the successes of political polices.
The good news spoken by the Christmas angel means that God has heard the cries of a lonely, forgotten, sinful world; God has heard, and God has answered!
And because of that there is meaning and hope; life can be filled with peace.
For you, today
Peace might be the most missing piece of your holiday menu today, but that’s usually because we’re looking for it frantically, perhaps trying to carve it out of a life filled with chaos.
Remember today – God’s peace “passes understanding”…it isn’t something to be ordered off eBay and dissected; God’s peace is to be accepted in the person of Jesus Christ. So (said Gabriel), relax; it’s all good news!