“Shout for Joy”
In today’s reading, the angel that announced the good news of great joy is joined with a “multitude of the heavenly host” who praised God together saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” What a moment in history! The angelic host bringing the songs and praise of heaven to earth, celebrating that God has participated in the brokenness of humanity by coming as a baby, born in a stable among the animals.
There is so much we can point to in the world and be angry or afraid. There is so much we can despair and lament over, so much brokenness, so much darkness. The temptation during this season is to seek distraction from such brokenness and pretend to be happy with fabricated feelings. This is not what it means to be a follower of Jesus, to pretend and fake it. Yet we do not have to be overcome by anger or fear or despair. How do we live with joy when life is so painful? How can we avoid being overcome by it or pretending our way through it?
We remember that God has come into our broken world and fully participated in our brokenness through Jesus. His coming into the world was celebrated by the angelic host, not because everything got instantly better, but because they knew God was at work to heal our brokenness. We are invited to join in the song and celebration. We can shout for joy, not because we feel like it, not because everything becomes instantly better, but because we can trust God. He has worked in the past, He will come again to make all things right, and He is at work now, despite what we can see or feel. We can trust His steadfast love and that makes us have joy, even in brokenness.