Christmas is here! During Advent, we count the days, we wait in expectation, and it all comes down to this: Christmas Day has arrived! What are the emotions that come to mind for you on this day? Are you filled with hope, peace, love, and joy? As Christians, Christmas has a richer meaning to us than it does to the rest of the world. However, many times we find our joy dimmed by the world instead of seeing the world brightened by our joy. Stopping to think of those who came before us reminds us of all the reasons we have to be joyful.
After the Fall of man recorded in Genesis 3, we were given the promise of restoration with God. From that day forward, every believer has waited in anticipation for true joy to be restored. As Abraham left the only land he knew, he waited. As the Israelites were enslaved under the abusive hand of Pharaoh, they waited. As Moses led God’s people out of Egypt and wandered in the wilderness, he waited. As David hid in caves, escaped the hand of Saul, and buried his infant son, he waited. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel, and so many others—through persecutions, laments, and trials—they all waited for the joyful fulfillment of the promise. Which brings us to today’s passage.
A group of Hebrew shepherds also waited. They kept watch over sheep that many scholars believe may have been lambs held for a special purpose—the Passover. As the shepherds waited and watched, an angel of the Lord delivered a message.
“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.’” Luke 2:10 (emphasis added)
Good news of great joy. For ALL the people. The promised King had finally come—like Abraham knew He would. Like Moses knew He would. David, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel—they all knew He would. How did they know? Because God had promised. Imagine what those shepherds must have felt. Did they mumble “humbug”? Did they roll their eyes at the sparkling lights? Did they wish the season would hurry and pass them by? No. Today’s passage tells us they “went straight to Bethlehem” (Luke 2:15). They “came in a hurry” (verse16). And they “went back glorifying and praising God.” Luke 2:20
We may have become weathered in our view of this Good News of great joy. Life has a tendency to do that to us. The holidays, meant to make things “merry and bright,” often bring a daunting cloak of heaviness that we carry with us. That heaviness, whether we realize it now or not, is the reminder that we are still waiting. We are waiting for Jesus to return to fulfill the promise He gave the disciples just before going to the cross. In your Bible, you’ll find these words written in red:
“Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.” John 16:22
Yes, now we have hardship, struggles, and grief, and the Christmas season may amplify all those emotions. However, instead of being captured by those emotions, let Christmas remind you of the eternal joy we have in Jesus—a joy that is not dependent on circumstances, a joy that will be fully restored someday soon and very soon.
“Good tidings of comfort and joy—comfort and joy!”
On this Christmas Day, may each of us embrace the promise of hope, the promise of peace, the promise of love, and yes, the promise of joy.
If you would like to know more about this promise of joy, we would love to talk with you. Just text the name “JESUS” to 901901. Click here to discuss Advent as a family using Fight for Your Family Resources.