“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.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
The Steadfast Love of the Lord
1 Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!
Praise befits the upright.
2 Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
3 Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
4 For the word of the Lord is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
5 He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.