Bring Joy to the World
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.
An angel. A message. Joy.
Simple ingredients for a holiday menu. One angel. One message and joy for billions!
Angels are God’s messengers. They were created and entrusted by God for exceptional service and extraordinary tasks. They were sent to announce world-changing events, to confront and destroy, to encourage, to protect and comfort, to gather the elect, and to sing God’s praises. Not the least of their tasks was to bring joy to the world!
We would agree with those who record such things that it’s an amazing event to be visited by angels, no matter the number. The mere presence of one angel along with God’s brilliant glory out in a dark field gripped these shepherds with terror. Nothing prepared them for such a sight of blinding wonder as it ripped through their senses. In that glorious but frightening light, they heard divine, angelic words: “Do not be afraid,” words only possible because of the breaking news that followed. The long-awaited Savior had come! The Messiah, the LORD, was now on earth, here to save his people! Release and freedom from bondage to sin was theirs. Their relationship with the God of free and faithful love was restored. Great joy, indeed! “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” (Luke 2:10,11).
News affects people in different ways. Out in the field that first Christmas night the effect of the angel message was immediate. “They spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” Martin Luther took note of the fact that “simple shepherds are now apostles and prophets!” * The joy from hearing the message was too much for them to contain. It couldn’t be kept—it was for all people!
How does the angel message affect us? At times we might feel like a lowly shepherd isolated out in a dark field. Or we might experience the grip of fear by what’s revealed in broad daylight—our failings and sins, misunderstandings, heavy responsibilities, painful illnesses and losses, endless demands and decisions, and the sheer weariness of it all. We go back to the message. The message will probably not change our challenging circumstances, but it sheds light on them; the light of God’s joy that brightens the night and banishes fear. Wrap each troubling thought or circumstance in the angel message and tuck it in with the Christ Child. Then go bring the marvelous message of joy to others. Send a text, make a call, or deliver a card. Just get it out… to your college/apartment roommate, your neighbor, your spouse, children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents, your extended family, your classmate or instructor, your package/food deliverer, your frontline worker, your homebound church member, your caregiver, your co-worker, your congregational leaders.
It’s quite a privilege to be God’s messenger given the task of bringing joy to the world!
Holy Christ Child, may the power of your Word turn our darkness to light and our terror to great joy. May we too be your messengers, that we not contain it but proclaim it! Amen.
* Martin Luther Christmas Book, Roland H. Bainton, 1948
Written by Sally Valleskey
Provided by WELS Women’s Ministry