Joy – what is it? How can we understand our response to the good news of Christ’s coming? Why is it good news and why should we feel joy? How can we get joy?
Luke 2:8-15 (CSB)8 In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
14 Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people he favors!
15 When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
The good news. Christ is born. Not just that Christ has come, but that He was born. Christ took on human form and came to dwell on earth. There is a thread that runs through the Bible that documents God’s presence with His people. We see Him in the garden with Adam and Eve. After the fall, God only enters into our world under certain circumstances. We see Him during the covenant with Abraham, in the burning bush, on Mt Sinai, in the fire and the cloud, and in the Holy of Holies. The birth of Christ is a crossroads in history. It changes everything. For us, God is now near. The dwelling of God with mankind is no longer intermittent or distant. Christ came. We are seated with Him at the right hand of the Father. The Holy Spirit dwells un us. We are His.
Psalm 16:11 (ESV)
11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Why should joy rise up in us? What do we have to rejoice about? We no longer need be victims of our circumstances. He came to give hope to the weary and downtrodden. We should see that our lives and our purpose exist on a plane that transcends circumstances. This world has much to throw at us. It can throw nothing at us that can undo the work Christ has done for us. Christ has come to bring salvation and defeat the enemy. We know that He can be trusted and that eternal life is available to those who believe. We begin eternal life when we believe. We live continually in His presence when we believe. He came to bring abundance to our lives here on earth.
Now that is reason to rejoice.