But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:10
This past week, most Christian churches celebrated the third week of Advent by lighting the candle of Joy. The coming of Jesus brought joy and anticipation to the world. It was the greatest event in human history. But that joy is not only in the past but also in the present and future. The Church of Jesus Christ is still awaiting His second return. And, as the coming of our resurrected Savior draws nearer, our joy builds with our anticipation of being raptured to be with Him forevermore.
In today’s text, the angels came to announce the birth of Jesus to the shepherds in the area where Jesus was born. The shepherds heard the angel’s announcement and were filled with both awe and joy. These shepherds rejoiced because they were approached by a heavenly being despite their lowly station. They hurried to the manger and kneeled before the Christ child with heavenly joy.
The joy of Jesus can only be experienced in a relationship of loving union with God through Christ Jesus. It is an experienced that cannot be purchased, earned, or fabricated. It transcends human understanding and sustains us through the trials of life. God’s joy is unfailing and gratuitous. It is gifted to those who trust in the Lord with all their hearts and abide in His will.
The good news of the birth of Jesus changed the life and legacy of the shepherds. These lowly servants became the first people to see the incarnated Christ and celebrate the miraculous birth. Their joy demonstrated faith and surrender to the manifestation of the divine.
The joy of believers is centered on their faith in Christ Jesus and trust in the promises of God. Even when we are battered by the hardships of life we rejoice in hope, are patient in tribulations, and remain constant in prayer (Romans 12:12). The Bible even exhorts us to count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds, for we know that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness. James 1:2-3 ESV
During the Advent season, we celebrate hope, peace, and joy because the coming Christ embodied these necessary human experiences that sustain us throughout our Christian journey. Because of the Christ who came for the redemption of humanity and will return for the rapture of His Church, believers should be glad in the Lord and rejoice for the glory that is set before us as we look to Christ who is the author and finisher of our faith. We should be bold in proclaiming His second coming so the world can be ready to see the resurrected Savior.
For many people, the Christmas holiday season is filled with sorrow and grief for a variety of reasons. But this ought not to be the case for believers because the joy of the Lord is our strength. We rejoice in adversity because our sovereign God is still on the throne. Though we may have to shed many tears, we also know that we will reap a harvest of joy because of our faith in the God of joy.
Questions for Personal Reflection
What is the difference between the joy of Jesus and worldly happiness?
Why the shepherd experienced such great joy when the angels told them about the birth of Jesus?
Prayer- Father, thank you for the joy of Jesus that saturates my heart. May your joy continue to sustain me in adversity and give me hope. When I am overwhelmed and burdened by the issues of life, may your joy overflow my heart and give me the strength to do your great commission work.