Great Joy

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” was always an important part of my Christmas season each year when I was a kid. My favorite part of the show was when the lights dimmed on the stage where the Peanuts kids were practicing their Christmas Pagent and Linus quietly says:

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
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, good will toward men.

– Luke 2:8-14

This scene still brings me great joy. 

Can you imagine being one of those shepherds living in the fields? They were part of the lowest social class. They were considered disreputable and unclean. They were the least likely people to hear anything first-hand. Yet here they were, hearing directly from the angels that the Messiah, that everyone in the land had been waiting for, had been born.1 Can you imagine their joy when they first heard the good news? When they first saw Jesus? When they went out to tell everyone? When they returned a second time to glorify the Lord?

The wonderful Christmas song “O Holy Night” does a great job of giving us just a small glimpse of what it must have been like.

Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!

   O night divine, O night when Christ was born;

   O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

Photo by David Orsborne from Pexels

1 Luke 2. “Visitation of the Angels to the Shepherds (2:8-14) – Michael Rydelnik, Michael Vanlaningham et al “The Moody Bible Commentary.” 2014 by THE MOODY BIBLE INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO”

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