We are doing something new in the new year. We will be posting Monday morning devotions that go along our monthly theme. This month’s theme is Joy. To kickstart the new year, we will be getting a head start on the devotions. Be sure to check back every Mondays for a new devotion.
Verse: Luke 2: 8-15
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
Good Christians tell each other that Christmas is really about Jesus. As much as we find joy in the celebration feasts, presents, lights, and festivities, our joy ultimately is in Christ. But how is our joy in Christ? Here in this passage, we have a strange sight. An angel appears to the shepherds and tells them there is good news that will bring great joy. A baby, an anointed one has been born. And then a whole chorus of angels appear and begin cheering in song, a piece that rivals Handel’s Messiah any day.
“Angel” literally means messenger, and the “Messiah” means anointed one – usually a king. And just as when any king is born or takes the throne, messengers are sent throughout the kingdom to announce the good news. And in this case, it is indeed good news, because it is not just any king who has come to take the throne, it is the rightful, good king who created and owns the world. When we rebelled, we enslaved ourselves to other kings. The evidence of this is seen in the unspeakable horrors of the sex slave trade, the children who are forced to be child soldiers, in the excruciating poverty that most of the world lives in. We also see it in the brokenness of our own relationships, in loneliness, and inability to stop our destructive ways.
Perhaps the joy and the good news of Christ coming as king does not often hit us because we do not like to remind ourselves of the evil and brokenness in the world around us during this feel-good holiday time. But it is only when confronted by the slavery we are under can we truly rejoice that the just and compassionate king has come to right all the wrongs. Only then can we say with the messenger that night so many years ago: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”
What evil and brokenness do you see in your own life? How does the truth that “Jesus is King” give you joy and hope in the midst of suffering?