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 Savior, who is Christ the Lord.Luke 2:10-11
This third Sunday of Advent is all about Joy! The birth of a baby is often accompanied by great joy. I remember vividly the times when both Daniel and Gabriella were born – one moment there wasn’t a baby there, an then there was! – it was a surreal feeling both times. But there was a deep joy, a welcoming of a special person into the world, a witnessing to the wonderful gift of God, a gift of life, a precious life that is to be cared for, nurtured, and loved. I can only imagine, if this is the joy that I felt at the birth of my own children, what it must have been like to be present at the birth, or just after the birth, of the Saviour, the Christ, the Anointed One, who had come to be the saviour and Lord of all. What would those shepherds have felt as they walked slowly and shyly up to the stable? As they shuffled forward to gaze on the king, what thoughts went through their minds? What did they see when they looked on the newly born Messiah? Did they see hope? Did they see peace? Did they see love? One can only imagine…
But the arrival of the Messiah, God’s anointed saviour, should be cause for the greatest of joy and celebration, because of what it means for each of us, and for the entirety of creation. If the one who has come to set the captives free has arrived, then what does that mean for us? Those of us (read ALL of us) who are held captive to the power of sin and death?
It means that freedom is here! It means that the King has come to set us free! You remember the celebration scenes at the end of Return of the Jedi? That’s what it should be like, our enemy is defeated and we have been set free, free to be subjects of a new and better (best) King – King Jesus! The kind of celebration that was seen at the end of the second world war, with people partying in Time Square, throwing massive parties, because the war is over, because there is freedom, that is how we should celebrate the arrival of the Christ. Think about it – the themes of the last two weeks alone should be cause for us to have joy, and not the sort of joy that is ‘church appropriate’ you know, that kind of reserved half-smile, ‘it-makes-me-happy,-but-i’ll-keep-it-mostly-too-myself-because-excessive-emotion-is-decidedly-unChristian’ type of joy, but the sort of joy that brings people to tears because they just can’t believe how blessed they are to be free. How excited we are that death has lost it’s sting, how excited that sin has been broken, it no longer holds sway, that the Kingdom of God has broken in to this world, that it is only a matter of time until we are renewed and see our King face to face!
What a joyous time to be alive! The King has come and He is coming again!