“I bring you good tidings of great joy …”
— Luke 2:10
Imagine yourself in the shepherds’ sandals. You’re minding your own business, tending to the evening duties all shepherds attend to, when an angel shows up and the glory of God shines all around you. You not only behold such a magnificent sight, but you also hear the angel proclaim, “I bring you good tidings of great joy.”
That angel was the first preacher of the Gospel—glad tidings, wonderful news, the glorious message of great hope and joy for all people.
The joy of Christmas is the joy of reconciliation. If you’re like the rest of us, you know the sadness and pain of being at odds with someone—especially with someone you love—because an argument or harsh, cruel words have divided you. When those times come, you can feel a cold, thick wall separating you from your spouse, child, friend, or relative. You believe you’ll never experience joy again until the moment you reconcile. And when you finally knit your hearts together again and your tears of sorrow have turned into laughter and hugs, you can feel joyful once more.
How much more do we feel that joy when we’ve reconciled with God.
Our sin and rebellion have built a wall between us and God. Ever since that fateful day in Eden, humankind and God have been estranged. But Jesus was born to break down that wall by atoning for our sins. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we can be reconciled with God. At last we can rest in His arms and receive the robe of righteousness and the ring of kinship. Now the joy bells start ringing in our hearts, and a song bursts forth from our lips—a song of praise unto Jesus Christ, who has made it all possible, who has joined the hand of the sinner with the hand of the Father.
What a joy is that reconciliation. Today, join with me in celebrating the wellspring of joy that comes from a heart reconciled with God.
“Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies.”