"And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." - Luke 2:10
I was recently having a conversation with someone who had set up some Christmas decorations. It was a fantastic display and in the middle of it was the word "joy" for all to see. In the course of discussing the decorations they told me that the reason they chose the word "joy" was because it was the only Christmas word that would fit in that space.
That dialogue was a few weeks ago already, but it has stuck with me. It was effective in making me chuckle, but I have also been thinking about the idea of joy. It is a word that is on display at Christmas time, but I guess I often let the idea of it pass me by. Perhaps the abundance of Christmas displays has desensitized me. Maybe I am too caught up in everything that needs to happen in the holiday season to contemplate what joy at Christmas means. It is also likely that I am still jaded about Christmas due to my years of working in retail.
Regardless, the idea of joy jumps out at me this year. With everything that has gone on in the year 2020 I am contemplating what brings me joy and how can I celebrate the joy of Christmas this year. While I find great joy in family, friends, and my vocation those aren't the things that I'm meant to root my joy in. When the angels told the shepherds that they were bringing good news of great joy they weren't letting the shepherds know that now they can be self-actualized and fulfilled. They weren't telling them that they could get together with loved ones and have a big meal. They were talking about the God-man who was lying in a manger. That message from the angels means that God condescended to us that he might keep the law on our behalf, die to bear the wrath of God for our sin, rise from the dead to guarantee our resurrection, and ascend to the right hand of the Father to intercede for us.
Amid all that happens in our world, that good news centers us on where our hope is and it can give us a true joy. The things of this world are fleeting but that good news gives great joy because it means that our sins are forgiven, and we have an eternal King in heaven who has us and holds us regardless of what we see in the world around us. As December 25th approaches may God bless you through his Word and Spirit with peace, hope, and joy that you might rest in the peace of Christ that passes all understanding.