As night fell, weary men guarded their sheep. An ordinary day like any other. Then suddenly a strange being appeared. Something beautifully magnificent broke through the darkness and shone all around them. The men were terrified.
But the strange being said, Do not be afraid. Listen! For I proclaim good news to you about great joy who shall be the one for all people. Because this day is born to you, in the City of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord.1
The strange being was an angel, and what shone around them was the glory of God. The angel’s message was clear. The Messiah has come. Find Him! A heavenly army praising God joined the angel. Then, poof, all were gone.
Jesus is our one Great Joy.
This version of Luke’s passage is a bit different.2 Here, more closely following the oldest texts, the focus changes from “good news” to “great joy”. Something else. That “great joy which” becomes “great joy who“. Great Joy is a person!
Joy is a calm delight or happiness caused by something good. But Luke wrote that the good news was not just about charán (joy) but charán megálēn…exceedingly great, overpowering joy…joy beyond what we can imagine or hope for.
Jesus is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. He is the Light of the World, the Word, Savior, Christ and Lord. And in Luke’s words, binding them together, we find that Jesus is Great Joy.
Jesus wants His joy to be in us.
When the angel left, the shepherds were no longer afraid. A calmness surrounded them, a delight in the message they had heard. They were filled with Great Joy that could not be contained. And it compelled them to seek the child.
I have come to understand something about Great Joy. He moves. He fills. He excites. He thrills. He strengthens. He confides. He protects. He guides. He is our Great Joy who compels us to find Him! …so that [His] joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.3
In whatever dark days that may lie ahead, I pray we will not cower in fear, but live in Great Joy. May we always remember and hold dear…that was no ordinary day long ago. It was a holy night!
Merry Christmas! Ciloa Forever!
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international ministry devoted to encouraging others and teaching them how to encourage one another. Also an author and speaker, Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org.
Footnotes: (1) Read Luke 2:2-12. (2) This version is based more on the root meanings of Ancient Greek words used in the passage which provide a different point of view. Read . (3) Read John 15:11.
Pictures: Banner Shot: Calming Embrace, a painting by Yongsung Kim. 1st Photo: Creator unknown. 2nd Photo: Rohingy Children, photo by John Warren, World Vision. 3rd Photo: O Holy Night, performed by Celtic Worship.