As we continue in our Advent season, so far, we have looked at Hope and Faith during weeks one and two. This Advent week, the focus is on joy and what better payoff for one’s hope and faith than joy! A truth evident in Luke 2:

“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” (Luke 2:20)

The shepherds were praising God because they found Mary, Joseph, and Jesus after being told by an “angel of the Lord” that the Messiah, Savior, and Lord was born.[1] Initially, their response was terror, but instantly they were calmed with this good news of Jesus’ birth. Still, seeing is believing.[2] Until they saw, they would rely on their hope and faith.[3]

After then, a hurried journey to Bethlehem, the shepherds found Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.[4] There, they experienced great joy, which they shared with others! First, their hope and faith were rewarded with joy by making this journey. Second, they saw the greatest gift of all, Jesus, our Lord, and Savior, who is the Messiah. Thirdly, these shepherds had selective access to one of the most critical events in history. Such honor produced joy from another angle too.

This Christmas, we have much to be joyful, especially us who are in Christ. Sure, the last sentence is cliché, but there are more profound truths:

Ultimately, our focus should be Jesus. He is the beginning and the end of our joy. He is joy’s foundation. Yet, within His foundations, His starts and finishes He gives, there is so much more for our lives. More worth being joyful over. Yet, all of our life’s joy starts with humility towards Jesus’ just as He began humbly began life in a manger.

Let us then make our “joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind”[5] by focusing on “Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith.”[6] Let’s apply our joy, not just during this Christmas season, but throughout the year. A joy that we should not keep to ourselves but share with those we love and have yet to meet. I bet application is one that will be both a joyful and “stable” application!

[1] Luke 2:9-11

[2] Luke 2:9-14

[3] Luke 2:15

[4] Luke 2:16

[5] Philippians 2:2

[6] Hebrews 12:2

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