“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” – Luke 2:10-11
The angel brought news of great joy to the shepherds all those years ago on the first Christmas. The Jews had been hearing about the promise of the Messiah for centuries and here was the announcement of His coming! It was given not to those we might have expected – not to kings or nobles – but to the ordinary shepherds. The good news of Christ still comes to ordinary people. His joy and peace is for everyone… for the overlooked, the underrated, the seemingly insignificant, because we are all significant in God’s eyes. He brings His love and hope to everyone, even those filled with pride, anger, revenge, bitterness and sin.
His message was one of joy then and it is one of joy now. True joy is available in Christ. So stop worrying about everything. Trust in the promise of God’s good news. He delivers on His promises. Don’t diminish God’s power by worrying about things. Joy that comes from God is something that is beyond our circumstances. Nothing can crush the joy that comes from Jesus.
The sinful woman who entered into an assembly of the religious and found grace (Luke 7:36-50) reminds us that Jesus’ message is one of joy even for the irreligious and the sinful – even for those will questionable pasts. She was forgiven much and therefore, had a great deal of gratitude. Do we live aware of how much mercy we have received and therefore, rejoice in God’s grace?
Countless misfits in Scripture remind us that the message of Christ is good news for those who have always been unpopular, left out and left behind. No matter what the world may have told you, you are the apple of God’s eye and He delights in you (Psalm 17:8).
The message of Jesus is one joy for those who are held captive – those who are chained by addiction, by fear, by hatred, by unforgiveness… Jesus releases us and sets us free (Luke 4:18; Mark 5:1-20).
His message of joy is also for those who have faced prejudice and discrimination. The Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-26) reminds us that Jesus sought out and ministered to even the rejected and marginalised. He drank from her cup and then offered her Himself as Living Water. For those who have felt the sting and pain of prejudice, there is joy in knowing that we are all accepted as the children of God, no matter who we are.
When everyone else is tied up in what’s happening in the world, those who know Jesus can have a joy within them because the message of joy the angels brought to the shepherds for all of humankind is a reality in our hearts.
Don’t get caught in the negative cycle of what’s going on around you. Rejoice in the Lord. Find your hope and your joy in Him. Be an agent of joy in the world.