But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. – Luke 2:10
What is the Great Joy?
As we celebrate the Christmas season, it is easy for us to understand the promises and joy given to those first participants. The angel appears to the shepherds in the fields and tells them that a Savior is born that will bring great joy for all people.
We know that joy. Here was God becoming man to bring men to God. The barriers between us and the Divine was going to be abolished, so we can have communion with the One who created us. That which we have been created for was to be reestablished.
We Know What They Did Not.
We know this promise. We understand it was finished. We know what those in the story did not know.
They did get to experience the miraculous intervention of angels and other God promises fulfilled. They saw the hand of God at work, but the ultimate promise was unclear to them. We know this because during Jesus’ ministry even Mary questioned His tactics.
The Great Joy Turned to Great Pain.
The joy of the miraculous can wear off in the process of waiting for the greater miracle. For those early participants, something terrible was about to take place. The One who was to bring great joy seemed to bring great pain.
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. – Matthew 2:16
Jesus is rushed off to Egypt and is saved from this tragedy, but the people of Bethlehem experienced untold devastation. The Bible quickly references how the mothers refused to be comforted, but we often breeze past this account to get to the rest of the story. Let’s not forget what happened.
The Journey to Great Joy May Go Through Pain.
God is leading us through this story of redemption, bringing us back to Himself. In the process, we see this attempt to kill off the Savior. While Jesus remains safe, many kids die.
We all have the promise of abundant life in Jesus (John 10:10), but many of us are either off in Egypt or going through incredible pain. I want to encourage you to keep moving forward. That which God has promised, He will bring about to fulfillment. We only need to keep moving ahead.
Where is the Great Joy?
The only thing that will keep us from the promises of God is our willingness to let go of them. Our enemy is trying to get us to give up and stop believing God. Sometimes the things we are going through are tremendously hard and our way through is not clear at all. Still, all of God’s promises are yes and amen (2 Corinthians 1:20). He will bring them about.
Allow this Christmas season to bring you back to the promises God has for you. He is moving heaven and earth for you, even when you can’t see it happening. Stand with the angels in glory and sing glad tiding of great joy. It is coming. It will happen.
Pin photo courtesy of Eric Ward