The traditional theme of this third Sunday of Advent is joy. The angel told the shepherds that he brought them “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2v10). Timothy Keller writes that such joy is not “a fizziness or giddiness that goes away in the face of negative circumstances. It is more like the ballast that keeps a ship stable and upright in the water.”
The remarkable reality is that we experience this Christian joy through such ordinary means. The amazing centre of the Christmas message is that God became man, but in such humble circumstances. Jesus wasn’t born in a palace or a private hospital and His first visitors weren’t celebrities but shepherds. And so, as Keller further writes, “Christ came in weakness and smallness to save not the proud but those who admit that they also are weak, small and need a Saviour.”
This good news (gospel) is the source and sustenance of our joy. Centuries earlier Nehemiah had told the Israelites that “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (8v10). May we all truly know and experience each day such joy!
Peace and Grace
PS: The early Christians did not say in dismay “Look what the world has come to” but in delight “Look what has come to the world.”