“And the angel said to them, ‘Be not afraid for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord.'” (Luke 2: 10-11)
There is a great joy in being loved. To know that someone cares so much about us that it can be rightly called love, fills our souls with true joy. Behind the angel’s announcement of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ stands God’s love. John’s account of the Gospel tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Do we recognize God’s love? If we don’t, then the announcement of a Savior’s coming to this world for mankind’s salvation means nothing. Christmas becomes just another holiday filled with cultural expectations and duties. However, if we recognize God’s love for us, then our lives change completely. First, we admit that we have value and worth because God deems it so. Second, we admit that our lives have purpose because God has invested significantly in us. Third, we admit that we have the privilege of responding to His love.
The Gospel of Luke tells that an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds of Bethlehem, who were keeping watch over their flocks at night, and said to them, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” The Shepherds went to Bethlehem to find the newborn Savior, Jesus Christ. When they found him they recognized God’s promise fulfilled and were filled with joy. They returned changed. They were not the same again. The Gospel writer tells that they “returned glorifying and praising God for all the things they have heard and seen, which were just as they have been told.” (Luke 2:20)
So what about us? Is this Christmas going to be just another holiday? Family, food, gifts, festivities in abundance where duty triumphs over joy. Or is this going to be a Christmas where we will make the effort see the things God has announced? This is a real choice, with real consequences.
If we make the choice to go and meet the Lord Jesus what does it require? It requires to make the effort; to meet the Lord. We must be willing to change our position. We must be willing to inquire. We must investigate, ask questions and truly consider the answers. We must be willing to go where the inquiry takes us. That’s reality check. Our lives will never be the same again; our assumptions, attitudes and actions will all begin to agree with God. Our encounter with Christ will burn in our hearts, until we praise and thank God for it and shape our lives around Him. We will truly experience real, authentic and unending joy.
About 300 years ago, one of the most famous hymn writers, Isaac Watts, penned the words of a favorite carol, “Joy to the world the Lord is come, let earth receive her King.” My prayer is that this carol will be real in all of us today.
Kristos Dznav Yev Haidnetzav; Tsezi, Mezi, Medz Avedis. Christ is born and revealed; tidings of great joy to you and us.
Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian
Armenian Evangelical World Council