Christmas-December 8, 2019 Lesson: “From Fear to Praise”

Christmas-December 8, 2019
Lesson: “From Fear to Praise”
Scripture: Luke 2”1-20

We begin with Luke 1:11-14. In these verses we see an angel of the Lord appearing to a man named Zachari-as, whom we would describe as a senior adult. Zacharias and his senior adult wife, Elizabeth, had not been able to have children. But on this day, as described in verse 13, the angel tells Zacharias that his prayers have been heard and that Elizabeth would have a baby boy whose name was to be John.

According to verse 12, Zacharias saw the angel and was shocked and afraid. In the moment that the angel ap-peared, there was much fear in Zacharias’ heart but the angel spoke words of comfort and power. “Do not be afraid.” The angel also told him that the birth of his son, John, would be a time of gladness and joy. The Scriptures declare that John would be a mighty man of God (reference Luke 2:14-17).

Found throughout the Christmas story are the words “fear not “ and “do not be afraid” These words were spo-ken not only to Zacharias but also to a virgin named Mary, a man named Joseph, and to a band of “good ole” shepherd boys.

Fear is something we all encounter in life. We usually try to hide our fear, in fact, often we try to master fear by masking it or coping with it through over-aggression, such as in the example of bullying.
Please list some things that cause each of us to fear:

Listing these areas of fear may be difficult because by listing these examples we are admitting to our fears. Do your fears relate to aging, finances, health issues, issues with children, and grandchildren? Etc.
In the heart of the Christmas story we find the words, “Fear not.” Please read II Timothy 1:7.
Question: What does this verse say to followers of Jesus Christ regarding fear?

We move from Zacharias to the story of the angel’s visit with Mary. Please read Luke 1:26-30. Did you find these same words again: “Do not be afraid”?

Question: What do you believe were some thoughts going through Mary’s mind when she received this news?
The angel said to Mary, “Do not be ___________________.”

Please read Matthew 1:18-25. Again we read the words in verse 20, “Do not be afraid.” This time these words are spoken to Mary’s fiancé, Joseph.

Question: What do you think were some of Joseph’s fears and concerns?

Now we turn our attention to the shepherds-the “good ole boys.” This term is used with respect and apprecia-tion. Please read Luke 2:8-20, giving special attention to verse 10.

Here we again find the words: “Do not be afraid.” This time the angel speak these words to the “good ole boys”-the callused-hands guys. The guys that smell like sweat, sheep, and dirt. In a special way, these guys represent the plain old ordinary folks of the world. This would be the class to which I belong. These guys were used to tents, not palaces. They cooked over an open fire, not in a rotisserie oven. They dreamed under the stars, not of becoming stars.

On this night, the greatest announcement in the history of the world would be given to these lowly “good ole boys” (shepherds). The announcement begins with: “Do not be afraid.” What started out like a thousand nights before, just another night in the lives of these shepherds, was interrupted by a heavenly visit to an-nounce the “greatest Good News” of all time.

Read verses 10 and 11.

“For there is born to you….

This Savior is the Savior of all people of all lands, even the “good ole boys” of the world. This Savior is not just for the elite, but for all people. He is the Savior that the Old Testament prophesied. He is the Savior Scripture has declared, and now on this night, He has been born in Bethlehem, the Ultimate Good News!
Quickly the Shepherds made their way to Bethlehem to see this which was spoken of by the angels (please read verses 15-20) and there they found everything just as the angel had told them. Imagine what it must have been like for these shepherds. In just a couple of hours they have gone from pulling night watch to stepping into the very presence of the “Newborn King.”

Question: How do you think these shepherds felt?

Question: What must their emotions have been like on this night? Remember it began with fear but it has ended with praise.

Question: What brought about this change?

Before class is dismissed and with Christmas only a couple of weeks away, please join with the “good ole boys” (shepherds) and glorify and praise God for the birth of our Savior!

“Go Tell it on the Mountain”
Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go, tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is born.
(1) While Shepherds kept their watching
O’er silent flocks by night
Behold, throughout the heavens
There shone a holy light.
(2) The Shepherds feared and trembled
When lo! Above the earth
Rang out the angel chorus
That hailed our Savior’s birth.
(3) Down in a lowly manger
The humble Christ was born,
And God sent us salvation
That blessed Christmas morn.
Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go, tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is born.
Take time to praise Him this Christmas Season!