This week we continue the season of Advent by focusing on joy. Our 2009 Advent theme is “The Songs of Christmas,” and each week we’ll be looking at a song from the gospel of Luke surrounding the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Our song this week comes from Luke 2:13-14. This is the song the angels sang when they told the shepherds of the birth of Jesus, the Messiah Christ:
13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
This week we focus the joy of Christ. This song the angels sang came on the heels of our Lord Jesus being born in a lowly stable. Not too many hours before that evening, Mary—the mother of Jesus—and her fiancé Joseph had arrived in the city of Bethlehem. They were worn out from their travel from the city of Nazareth, but they could not find a proper place to lie down and rest. The local inn had no vacancy, so they offered the best they had—a stable. It wasn’t the Hilton, but it would have to do because soon thereafter, Mary gave birth to the baby Jesus. I’m sure the lackluster surroundings faded away in the flood of Mary’s joy over her new baby who would also be her Savior.
But Mary and Joseph’s joy was not enough because the birth of Jesus was good news for the entire world. Therefore, God sent an Angel of the Lord to share the good news with some local shepherds who were keeping watch over their flocks that night. The angel told the shepherds, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12). And then it happened. The single angel gave way to multitude of angels (who knows how many angels!), and they began to sing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Oh, what a time for rejoicing!
Friend, the thought of the birth of Christ should still cause us to rejoice. It’s through Jesus that we gain the joy of forgiveness of sin. It’s through Jesus that we acquire the joy of new life here on this earth. It’s through Jesus that we secure the joy of eternity with God the Father in the age to come. It’s through Jesus that our joy is made complete. May Jesus Christ be the focus and well-spring of our joy this season and every season!