That night more than 2,000 years ago, heaven exploded into the cold and dark world of the shepherds. The song of the angels burst forth into the war zone of earth and proclaimed the joy of heaven into their hopeless and meaningless existence. Stars were falling and bursting in rare and glorious colors while the heavens opened and a majestic angel choir began to sing a mighty symphony that can still be heard today.
Christmas has come to you in your depression and darkness. As the God of creation proclaimed, “Let there be light,” the God of Christmas proclaims to you in the middle of your mess, “Let there be Christmas!”
No Longer Afraid Every time an angel appears in the Christmas story, the message is always the same: “Do not be afraid!” The angel said it to Zachariah, then to Mary, then to Joseph and finally to the shepherds on the hillside: “Do not be afraid!”
I believe this just may be the message heaven is sending you this Christmas season. Christmas definitively proves Jesus and fear are mutually exclusive. When Jesus arrives on the scene, there is no reason to be afraid. His presence powerfully removes any reason for fear.
The message of Christmas has not changed in 2,000 years, and the words of the angels still ring clearly into our 21st-century world: “Do not be afraid!”
When your circumstances are falling apart, remind yourself: “Do not be afraid!” When there is not enough money to pay the bills, remind yourself: “Do not be afraid!” When you are dealing with disappointment, pain or loneliness, remind yourself: “Do not be afraid!”
It is time for you to step away from your fear and step boldly into His presence. I pray that this Christmas—and every day this coming year—you realize that when Jesus is birthed in your heart, there is absolutely no reason for fear or worry.
Filled With Joy The first word the angel that appeared to the shepherds used to describe the birth of Jesus Christ was the word joy: “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11, NASB).
I believe joy should also be the first word used to describe every believer at every moment in history. Joy is the birthmark of a Christian, because when you accept Jesus—the Baby found in the manger—into your heart, you are branded for life with His joy. Your life becomes purposeful as you carry the Christ child to this dark and restless world. The hopelessness of your life dissipates as you understand the honor of transmitting the joy of His presence to the muddy specimens of humanity.
Similarly, when the star stopped the magi in their wealthy tracks, the Bible says these learned men “rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (Matt. 2:10). Just five words, yet what richness their scarcity holds. These five simple words are some of the most expressive words in all of Scripture.
Rejoiced means “let the hope of future blessedness give you joy.” What rich intent and calling!
This communicates to all of us, from every generation and every historical juncture, that because of the Baby born in the manger, we can look ahead with hope and expectation. When you encounter Jesus, there is reason to rejoice because of the many blessings now headed in your direction.
Exceedingly is defined as “greatly” or even “violently.” These first-century professorial types did not just bow low with scholarly hands clasped in front of their wise faces. The joy they experienced in the presence of Jesus was an explosion that knocked their mortarboards off their wizened heads. These men of highly respected academia were jumping up and down!
Great in this sentence means “with great effort of the affections and emotions of the mind.” It is significant that this particular definition of the word includes the word mind. The magi were men of scrolls and cerebral intensity, but at the moment this star stopped in the presence of Jesus, all they had ever learned or studied paled in comparison to this one momentous event.
And finally, the word joy is rich in meaning and texture because it is defined as “the blessedness that the Lord enjoys.” Every blessing that the Lord has, you now have—because of Christmas!
Compelled to Worship The magi fell on their faces and worshipped Jesus in full-blown, dynamic heart worship: “After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him” (Matt. 2:11).
These learned and respected men fell on their faces in His sweet presence. While Jesus was babbling in a language only his mother could understand, these men who were known for solving the mysteries of the ages lay prostrate before Him.