DEVOTIONAL | SHANNON MILLER.
Do you feel joy this Christmas? Or is the joy-light dimmed by the stress of preparing and hosting, the pinch of tight finances, or the gloom of sickness? Maybe it’s gone dark in the midnight of loss and grief. Could the angel’s promise spoken to shepherds be true for you here, now?
“…The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord,” (Luke 2:10,11, NIV).
Do those words, “all the people,” really mean you and I? The phrase can be translated literally, “each and every one of the chosen people of God.” If you are in Christ today, then yes it does mean you (1 Peter 2:9)!
Perhaps we’ve misunderstood what exactly was promised to each of us. The word joy here, xaran in Greek, is from the root xar-, “extend favor, lean toward, be favorably disposed,” and is the awareness of such grace and favor. Joy is “grace recognized.”
With this definition in mind, joy becomes accessible in all circumstances. Where do you see that God has extended unmerited favor to you? When has He leaned down to hear your cry? How has He smiled on your life? You may recognize grace in major victories this year, or in simple daily blessings. If you need joy today, look around for a bit of grace you can recognize, name, and thank Him for. Joy can overtake your heart through a small beginning – even as small as a newborn baby in a manger.