And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’ Luke 2:8-11 NIV
They were terrified. Inexplicably, the angel instructed them not to be afraid because he had news of great joy. Maybe today you’re terrified, too. The economy is plunging downward at an unprecedented rate; Ottawa is embroiled in an historic Constitutional mess; perhaps you live with personal issues that leave you weak. Guess what? Do not be afraid. That same baby has come to you with news of great joy.
What does it mean to live with great joy? To have joy is to rejoice and be glad–to celebrate. Joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness is situation-dependent, but joy can be lived regardless of circumstances. When life is a mess it is possible to celebrate because Jesus did in fact come to bring us great joy.
First of all, Jesus brought us salvation. No matter who we are or what we’ve done Christ died for us. If you know Christ, no earthly mess can change that. Take JOY!
Secondly, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Romans 8:38-39 assures us that no matter what happens, Jesus still loves us. Take JOY!
Thirdly, Jesus has promised he will never leave us nor forsake us. Not only does he love us, he’s with us. Therefore, no matter what circumstance plagues you, Jesus will walk through it with you. Psalm 23 reminds us that even though we may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, he is with us to comfort us. Take JOY!
Do not be afraid. Christmas is a time to remember we have news of great joy.
Prayer: Father in Heaven, thank you so much for the wonderful gift of Jesus. As we celebrate Advent, help us to remember you are the giver of joy and because of Jesus we can live daily with your joy. Amen.
Contributed by Karen Vine