Joy Is Here
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
After the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon in 587 BC, the Hebrew people were exiled. Their political nation was conquered and the line of King David was broken. The exile lasted for years as the Hebrews waited for God to overthrow the oppressive world powers. The exiled Jews waited for a new king to rise up and deliver them. The wait would last for centuries. During this time, they were reminded by the prophets that God was faithful. There was hopeful anticipation that God would forgive them of their transgressions and restore them back into the promised land. They clung to the covenantal promises given to Abraham and David. They looked forward to the day God would send his Anointed One to make things right again.
So, when the angel appeared and announced to the shepherds that a Savior had been born, there was reason for excitement. There was reason for great joy.
When magi studied the skies and saw the star indicating the birth of the King of the Jews, it caused them to take action. They traveled great distances to celebrate his arrival with wonderful gifts. There was reason for great joy.
The birth of Jesus in the town of Bethlehem brought great joy, and for good reason. God’s time of deliverance for his people, the time of restoration had come. The special Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ had arrived. And that is a reason to celebrate!
There is still a reason for great joy. Today we still celebrate with great joy the birth of Jesus. The Anointed One who offers grace and forgiveness. The Messiah who restores us back to the right relationship with God. The descendent of David who reigns forevermore. Yes, we have reason to celebrate with great joy the advent of the Christ!
Hope involves waiting. Peace might be outside you before you feel it. But joy must be experienced, and you needn’t put it off. It’s a new horizon– Jesus is come!
- Has Jesus’s joy filled you to capacity yet?
CHOOSE AN ACTIVITY FOR YOUR FAMILY
Week 3 – JOY
In Jesus, God’s promise to rescue us and make things right again was fulfilled.
- Parents share your favorite Christmas memory from when you were a child. You might even pull out an old-school photo album or FaceTime grandparents to find photo evidence.
- At breakfast, make a plan to look for unexpected moments of joy in your day. At dinner or bedtime, share what each of you discovered.
- Have each family member choose a cookie cutter that represents something good God has done for them this year. Then bake and decorate a batch of cut-out Christmas cookies.