Joy is quite possibly the deepest, most common motivator of all people in all times. We go to great lengths for joy. When you discover something really good, you can’t help but respond. It’s like it draws something out of you. That moment of discovery, that spontaneous split-second flutter of delight in something truly good— that’s joy.
We so often miss our chance at joy because of one thing: fear.
Luke 2:8-20 …there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Shepherds were among the first to hear this good news. There was nothing special about them. They were at work. The setting was mundane. These details are important.
God comes to you where you are. He doesn’t make you dress up. He doesn’t give you an address on the far corner of the world, where He can be found. He finds you. He comes precisely to the place where it seems he is least likely to come.
And when He comes, you know it.
Luke 2:9 “And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.”
Luke 2:10a And the angel said to them, “Fear not…”
Fear, if nothing else, makes us present. It makes us alert to the moment. Like hearing a startling noise when you least expect it. Suddenly, you’re all ears.
You see, when we do listen to God amidst our fears, the message is marvelous: fear not.
Luke 2:10b …for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Behold! God is here. He has come to save you once and for all. He has come to make good on His promise. The days of evil are numbered. Sorrow will cease. Justice will finally come. Fear will be no more. When you forget, He will remind you. The great joy of the world is here.
But it looks different than you might expect.
Luke 2:12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.
It’s not in a palace.
It’s not flashy, it’s not large.
It’s small and easy to miss.
It’s hidden in the most unlikely place.
There, in that manger, lies all the joy you’ve ever dared hope for.
Luke 2:15-16 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.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
This Christmas, don’t be afraid to take God at His word right where you are, amidst your fears. Behold this good news and discover your great joy! Take that risk and stake everything on it.
You will not be let down. In your joy, you will be bursting at the seams with praise.
Prayer: God, though I’m afraid, help me take You at Your Word. Help me discover joy. In Jesus name, Amen.