“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ, the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
There is no better combination than children and Christmas. Their sweet smiles, joyous laughter and excitement are contagious. A child’s heart is wide open, and his wonder and delight will warm even the coldest Scrooge’s heart. Children have an enormous capacity for joy, a trait that we tend to lose as we “mature” into adults. When my son was small, and he would get excited, he would do what I called his “seal clap of joy,” clapping his little hands together in fast repetitions. It always made me laugh, not just his clapping, but the excitement and delight that bubbled out of him.
Unlike our “dignified” western persona, in the middle-eastern world, emotions were deeply felt and fully expressed. Grief was given full breadth as grown men and women wailed loudly, beat their breasts and mourned publicly. Likewise joy was celebrated with loud songs and shouts of delight – even dancing in the streets as neighbors joined in the merriment. The Bible gives many accounts of great emotional impact – Job in his mourning, David celebrating the return of the Ark to Jerusalem. In fact, there is still great emotional expression in those cultures today.
So when the angels announced the “good news of great joy” we can envision the shepherds dancing by the fire, singing and laughing with delight, then rushing off to see this Baby “wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger” (v. 12). This was cause for celebration – the Lord had fulfilled His promise to Israel!
You and I have reason to rejoice and celebrate too, because more than just His promise to one nation, the Lord had fulfilled His promise to all mankind. Way back in the book of Genesis, after the first humans had fallen to Satan’s ploy, God promised to send a Rescuer who would crush the head of our enemy (Genesis 3:15) and redeem men from captivity to sin and death. This child in the manger was the fulfillment of that promise. He is the reason we sing “Joy to the World.” He is the reason we celebrate – not because of trees and lights and presents – but because of the joy we have in Jesus Christ.
Let this Christmas bring a childlike joy to your heart – a joy that shows on your face and spreads out all around. Dance, sing, jump, rejoice – let it fill you to the brim and overflow onto everyone around you. There will always be people who don’t appreciate your enthusiasm – there will always be Scrooges and Grinches who will “bah humbug” over your delight. Be joyful anyway – maybe it will bring a smile to their face as well.
Share some Christmas joy this season, it’s a gift you can give to others that always gives back to you.
Read 2 Samuel 6:12-15