Good News of Great Joy (Advent 24)

The Christian message is, “good news of great joy.” That was what the angel said to the shepherds when they announced the birth of “a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”

And that’s why Christians make a big thing about Christmas. It’s why we go on about “the reason for the season”, and keeping “the Christ in Christmas”. It’s why we evangelise. It’s why we try to convert people. It’s good news of great joy.

image“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“’Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’

“When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.’” (Luke 2:8-15)

It’s good news because Jesus is the Saviour. It means access to “great joy… for all the people”. Great joy in being forgiven, having the hope of eternal life, and having an inheritance in God’s kingdom as sons in his family. And it’s for all people. Not just Jews, but for all who put their trust in him. That’s why the Christmas story has no chief priests, scribes and rabbis. God’s announcement of Jesus’ coming was to eastern magi and ordinary shepherds in the fields.

Our hope as Christians is that we would be like those angels; that our singing, and all the fuss we make, would wake people up, just like the shepherds. And we hope that the glory of Lord would shine through that, as we point to the good news of great joy – Jesus, the Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.

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