Joy isn't Perky
8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.10But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14 ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’
watch the Advent story from this week (up to 8:09):
I wonder how you are getting ready to enter the mystery of Christmas?
I wonder how you would feel if greeted by an angel of God?
I wonder what God is saying to you?
Joy is what shows up, what breaks in while I'm busy protecting, planning, and just trying to get stuff done. Joy comes in unexpected conversations...while installing thermostats, with strangers at coffee shops, among neighbors in the street. Joy comes in our lover's arms or in a memory...
Joy spends seasons, sometimes even years eluding us. Seemingly always showing up in someone else's pasture, just close enough to where we can see it but beyond our borders.
But joy is coming....for everyone. This joy is not that perky lady's well intentioned but condescending assurance that everything will be alright or that we can turn darkness to light by adding some glitter to it. This joy is the flood of light that doesn't just cover up but casts out all darkness. It fills us up so that we burst at the seams and cannot keep from singing. This joy does not belong to this one or that one, but to all of us. We are all on the way to Bethlehem, no one is left alone in the darkness.
Joy...holy, divine joy...comes to the blue collar shepherds, not just to the priests, pastors, or the privileged. Joy comes even and especially to the least of these. Joy IS coming.
The announcement is not only that joy is coming, but an invitation to come and be a part of it. Don't be afraid. We bring you tidings of great joy. Peace on earth and good will to everyone. A child is born. Go. Hurry. Run to Bethlehem to see the child who will change everything.