Good News of Great Joy
I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
— Luke 2:10 —
More than anything else, our celebration of Christmas ought to be characterized by joy. We should thank God that he doesn’t call us to be Stoics; i.e., he doesn’t call us to stifle all feeling. There are Christians who seem to think that demonstrations of emotion are unspiritual, that spirituality is pure rationality. But while emotionalism may be unspiritual, emotion per se is not. The various ways in which God deals with us inevitably evoke different emotions (love, joy, fear, guilt, peace, etc.). The natural emotional response to the message the angel brought the shepherds was joy. “I bring good news of great joy.”
This is how we should receive the message, as well, the message of our Savior’s birth. Even still. Even after more than two-thousand years. Of all the causes for joy (and there are many) none is greater than the joy of our salvation—the joy of knowing and being known by God; the joy of sins forgiven; the joy of being reconciled to God. A perpetually morose, somber, melancholy Christian ought to be considered an anomaly. David’s testimony should be considered the norm:
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16:11)
Christians should be the most joyful in all the world. All the more so during the festive season of Christmas when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, the first step of our redemption. And not only our own personal redemption, but the redemption of the world, when all creation will be freed from the curse that descended upon the world because of our sin. Then our joy will be complete.