By Lisa Huddleston

“But the angel said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord was born for you in the city of David’” (Luke 2:10-11).

Good news! The third candle on our Advent wreath is the Candle of Joy. And not just “joy” but “Great Joy!” As you can already tell by my liberal exclamations, joy is something to get worked up over. Oh yeah! Joy is a very good, even great thing to have. And what was bringing the shepherds who heard this message such joy? A Savior was born. A Messiah had come for them. It was a message of inclusion to a people who were outsiders. Dirty, stinky shepherds. People who polite society ignored. People who spent their time apart from the rest. A Savior was born for them! Amazing! Can you imagine their relief? Can you imagine their joy?

And that wasn’t all. This Messiah, this Savior was born for “all the people.” No longer would there be a wall between God’s chosen people and the rest of us. No longer would there be a glass of separation against which most people could only press their dirty noses and watch the workings of God. No! Now a Savior was born “for all the people.” And this Savior would tear down the walls that kept us stinky, smelly, sin-fouled beings away from the Holy God. Jesus was the Way to reach through the walls, to tear down the veil, and even to touch the righteousness of God Himself. What good news! What great joy!

And it wasn’t just for them—those to whom the angels appeared on that faraway night. This Great Joy is still here for us today. Do you feel it? Joy—delight, happiness, bliss, ecstasy, elation, thrill! Don’t be afraid. Open your eyes and look. A Savior is born for us! He knows that we aren’t perfect. He knows that we aren’t clean. But, the angels told the shepherds to look for this great joy and so should we. Do you see what I see? This joy is Jesus. He was born for them, and He is born for us. He adopted them, and He adopts us. He covered their filth, and He covers ours. Good news! Great joy! Jesus is here. He is God with us and, yes, for us. Immanuel! Let the bells ring out and the people sing. Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;

Let earth receive her King;

Let every heart prepare Him room,

And heaven and nature sing,

And heaven and nature sing,

And heaven and heaven and nature sing.

–Isaac Watts

Oh yes! Joy to the world! For God has blessed us every one!

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