The Joy of Christmas

The Joy of Christmas December 14, 2015

I love Luke 2:10. It’s a quote from the angel to the shepherds on that first Christmas night: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy!” Just moments ago, the shepherds were utterly terrified. But now, great fear is replaced with great joy. How? Because of good news. What makes the angel’s statement particularly interesting is that he uses the verb often used for preaching the gospel. Literally, he says, “I evangelize great joy to you!”

Christmas ought to be a time of joy. Carols declare it. Our hearts crave it. Seasonal traditions celebrate it. We work so hard to achieve it in the parties, gifts, decorations, and celebrations of the season. But if these are our only hope for joy, our Christmas spirit will be fragile indeed. If the gifts aren’t our size or style, if the party goes wrong, if the family fights on Christmas Day, the joy we seek at Christmas will evade us. But if, on the other hand, we can root our joy in something else greater and truer than these, it will be robust and strong and real.

What was it the angel said? “Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of great joy.” What kind of news could be powerful enough to transform gripping fear into great joy? What you’ll notice if you reread the angel’s message is that at every point, it’s news about God. This, after all, is what Christmas is all about, isn’t it? It’s about God’s love, God’s glory, and God’s Son. It’s a season about joy because it’s a season about God. 

First of all, Christmas is a time of joy because it reminds us that God stoops. He humbles Himself. He bends low. He comes to Bethlehem, not Jerusalem. He sends good news to shepherds, not the town mayor. God prefers to work through nobodies, inconspicuously, quietly, humbly. If God stoops, He just might come to nobodies like us!

Second, Christmas is a time of joy because it reminds us that God shines. He is glorious, radiant, resplendent. God is so beautiful, brilliant light surrounds and emanates from Him. If God shines with glory, He just might be able to satisfy the cravings of our hungry hearts!

Third, Christmas is a time of joy because it reminds us that God saves. Remember how the angel said it? “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!” If God saves, He just might be able to rescue undeserving sinners like us!

And that is good news indeed.