How do we experience more joy? After all, the angel said, “I bring you good news of great joy.” I think the Christmas story answers this in two ways: freedom and presence.
The truth is, the freer we are the more joyful we will be.
The angel followed up his joy statement by saying, “a saviour has been born” (Luke 2:11). Salvation is so much more than going to heaven (as great as that is).
• We don’t have to feel guilty — We have peace with God (Luke 2:14a). He saves us from punishment.
• We don’t have to feel shame — We are the people of God’s favour (Luke 2:14b).
• We don’t have to feel trapped — Jesus came to set us free (Luke 4:18). He gives us victory.
We have been deceived into thinking that the call to salvation is an obligation to feel guilty—as if the job of the church is to make people feel badly. But the angel and Jesus both announced a completely different reason for his coming: freedom.
The call to confession is actually an invitation to lay down all the baggage of sin, guilt and shame. Salvation is an invitation to freedom. It’s an opportunity to draw close to God without reservation.
That made the angels burst into celebration.
Before Jesus was even born, an angel told Joseph, “They will call him Immanuel, which means God with us.” (Matthew 1:23) Jesus’ birth is evidence that the God of the universe is willing to make himself small in order to be with us. Christmas is an invitation to experience the presence of God . . . and in his presence there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).
From all of us at CBWOQ we wish you fullness of joy this Christmas,
Diane, Renee, Sarah and Sabrina