Monday 17 December // Joy in the Advent story
Jesus’s arrival on earth is heralded by angels as “Good News of Great Joy for All People”.
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 Saviour 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 favour 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.’
So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, 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. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
What stood out to you in this passage? This good news was not announced from a palace balcony or to the elite. A key understanding for us is that the medium is the ‘message’. The fact that this good news is for all people makes the way, and to whom, it was announced significant.
Shepherds were solidly lower class, and Mary and Joseph were teenagers, yet they were entrusted with receiving this good news. They way they held this joy was the practice of pondering, treasuring and glorifying the goodness of God.
Read: Isaiah 9:2-3a
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest
Pray: Thank God for Jesus (the great Light that shines on us in our darkness and promises to multiply our joy). Ask God to fill you with His light and joy as you hold the advent, and your story, before Him.
Respond: On your Advent calendar colour in today’s bauble, you might also like to include a scripture reference or note what God is speaking to you about through this story