Like an angel!

Joy. It isn’t exactly in abundant supply this season of 2020.  Most of us are dealing with both the truly awful and difficult that comes from the pandemic and as well as the inconvenient, like delayed packages before Christmas.  Last night, at our church, our children’s ministry met for our Christmas party. The joy of those kids was infectious. At the end of the evening my spirits were lightened by the laughter, the hopefulness, the smiles of children who found delight in the simplest things.

Our God invites us to find His JOY.  In the fields outside of ancient Bethlehem an angel announced the birth of Jesus which was an event of JOY “for all the people!”   The words came to a rough lot of men, shepherds. They were, to our way of thought, an odd lot to tell of the Messiah’s birth. They probably were not well versed in the prophetic texts, nor were men careful to attend to Temple rituals. And still God choose to make His announcement to them. The message wrapped in that is this – God’s desire was to bring all people – even shepherds – to worship the Savior.  In that worship, they found joy. Luke says “The shepherds went back to their fields and flocks, glorifying and praising God for what the angels had told them, and because they had seen the child, just as the angel had said.” (Luke 2:20, NLT)

Want to find joy, in the middle of this mess we call life? 

Finding God’s joy starts with worship, looking beyond our trouble, setting aside the pre-occupation with the ‘stuff’ that clutters up our lives, to offer ourselves to the Lord. Worship does not have to be noisy, or in a special building, or accompanied by some sort of spiritual ecstasy. We can pause, wherever we are, to acknowledge Him, to praise Him. True joy this Christmas will be found in less “Santa” and more “Savior.”  There is a choice for JOY that each of us can make. It is a mistake to wait for JOY to arrive. We find it when we go to Him.

Joy is also found in serving others. There are a hundred ways to do this. A simple pause in the rush to acknowledge another human being with a sincere “Merry Christmas” can be a gift. Making a phone call to a friend to remind them of how much they mean to you is another.  Put yourself at God’s disposal, inviting Him to make you a messenger of joy. In giving we can find joy.

Take charge of your schedule these days leading up to Christmas. Make time for personal worship, time to pray, time to be in God’s Presence. This will allow you to at the holy day refreshed by Him, rather than exhausted. And you will share in the mission of bringing “joy to the world.”   Christian, we are ambassadors of the Heavenly Kingdom.  We have the awesome privilege of leading others to Him, sharing with them the Hope we have found.  I pray that we will be like the angel, able to sincerely announce God’s message of “great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11, NIV)

A word from the Word, urges us to this high calling.  On this Monday that starts the holiday week  remember that “God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. How? you say. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God. ” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21, The Message)

___________________________

Angels we have heard on high

(sung by one of those virtual choirs so common in COVID era!)

Angels we have heard on high,
Sweetly singing o’er the plains;
And the mountains in reply,
Echoing their joyous strains.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
Say what may the tidings be;
Which inspire your heav’nly song?

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Come to Bethlehem and see,
Him whose birth the angels sing;
Come adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Angels We Have Heard On High Chadwick, James / Barnes, Edward Shippen

© Public Domain CCLI License No. 810055

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