Rediscover the Joy of Christmas with this classic sermon by C. H. Spurgeon

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"But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:10–12

Imagine being on the hillside near Bethlehem that night with the shepherds hearing this dramatic announcement. And though the immediate implication of this message led the shepherds to Bethlehem to see the newborn Jesus, its implications for the world are far reaching and continue to this day.

Renowned British pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon spoke on this very topic at a Christmas Eve service delivered in 1871 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London in a sermon titled "Joy Born at Bethlehem."

We'll look at several excerpts from this sermon in this reading plan. We'll also be making use of the excellent Bible Study tools made available at BibleHub.com to dig deeper into the Scripture.

Joy Born at Bethlehem
by C. H. Spurgeon
Part 1

"And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.'" -- Luke 2:10-12.


The key-note of this angelic gospel is joy -- "I bring unto you good tidings of great joy." Nature fears in the presence of God -- the shepherds were sore afraid. The law itself served to deepen this natural feeling of dismay; seeing men were sinful, and the law came into the world to reveal sin, its tendency was to make men fear and tremble under any and every divine revelation. The Jews unanimously believed that if any man beheld supernatural appearances, he would be sure to die, so that what nature dictated, the law and the general beliefs of those under it also abetted. But the first word of the gospel ended all this, for the angelic evangelist said, "Fear not, behold I bring you good tidings." Henceforth, it is to be no dreadful thing for man to approach his Maker; redeemed man is not to fear when God unveils the splendor of his majesty, since he appears no more a judge upon his throne of terror, but a Father unbending in sacred familiarity before his own beloved children.

The joy which this first gospel preacher spoke of was no mean one, for he said, "I bring you good tidings" -- that alone were joy: and not good tidings of joy only, but "good tidings of great joy." Every word is emphatic, as if to show that the gospel is above all things intended to promote, and will most abundantly create the greatest possible joy in the human heart wherever it is received. Man is like a harp unstrung, and the music of his soul's living strings is discordant, his whole nature wails with sorrow; but the son of David, that mighty harper, has come to restore the harmony of humanity, and where his gracious fingers move among the strings, the touch of the fingers of an incarnate God brings forth music sweet as that of the spheres, and melody rich as a seraph's canticle. Would God that all men felt that divine hand.

We have already said it is a "great joy" -- "good tidings of great joy." Earth's joy is small, her mirth is trivial, but heaven has sent us joy immeasurable, fit for immortal minds. Inasmuch as no note of time is appended, and no intimation is given that the message will ever be reversed, we may say that it is a lasting joy, a joy which will ring all down the ages, the echoes of which shall be heard until the trumpet brings the resurrection; aye, and onward for ever and for ever. For when God sent forth the angel in his brightness to say, "I bring you good tidings of great joy, which be to all people," he did as much as say, "From this time forth it shall be joy to the sons of men; there shall be peace to the human race, and goodwill towards men for ever and for ever, as long as there is glory to God in the highest." O blessed thought! the Star of Bethlehem shall never set. Jesus, the fairest among ten thousand, the most lovely among the beautiful, is a joy for ever.

Yet is there cause enough for holy joy in the Lord himself, and reasons for ecstasy in his birth among men. It is to be feared that most men imagine that in Christ there is only seriousness and solemnity, and to them consequently weariness, gloom, and discontent; therefore, they look out of and beyond what Christ allows, to snatch from the tables of Satan the delicacies with which to adorn the banquet held in honor of a Saviour. Let it not be so among you. The joy which the gospel brings is not borrowed but blooms in its own garden.

Let our joy be living water from those sacred wells which the Lord himself has digged; may his joy abide in us, that our joy may be full.



Go Deeper
Click here to find other uses of the word 'joy' in the Bible.
Dig deeper in Luke 2:10 at BibleHub.com.

Reflect
"It is to be feared that most men imagine that in Christ there is only seriousness and solemnity, and to them consequently weariness, gloom, and discontent; therefore, they look out of and beyond what Christ allows, to snatch from the tables of Satan the delicacies with which to adorn the banquet held in honor of a Saviour."

Respond
What other statements stood out to you? Share them in the comments.

What are some ways you can reintroduce joy into your life?

We look forward to your comments and questions below!

If you want to share this Bible reading plan with friends and family, here is the link:
https://bttb.org/Joy-Born-At-Bethlehem
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