“Fear not then,” said the Angel,
“Let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Saviour
Of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan’s power and might.”
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Joy. We have news of great joy, and no one can take it away from us. Violence cannot remove our joy. Death and sadness can’t take it away.
If anything, they increase it. Our joy is our delight in Jesus. Our joy is in knowing that Jesus will fix this all. One day, everything will be made right. There will be no more funerals. No more terror. No more arguments, no more laws.
Advent is about preparing ourselves, anticipating Jesus at Christmas and his future return. We anticipate a redeemed world. We remind ourselves of why his message is so stunningly beautiful. In the midst of this dark world, we can have joy.
Tidings of comfort and joy.
Joy. Not happiness. Happiness is pleasure. It’s based on circumstances. Joy is deeper. It’s rooted in a person. We wonder at the mystery of it all. Joy, in the midst of pain.
We should be the most audacious people in the world, not content to sit and merely weep and question. We weep, but our hearts rest in joy – that confident trust and hope that a Messiah has been born to us.
“The story of Jesus is indeed a great story, but it goes far, far beyond the realm of provable fact and into the realm of mystery and marvel.” – L’Engle
Tidings of comfort and joy. Do not fear. Comfort, comfort my people.
There is time for lament. Time for tears and funerals and prayers.
They read the names of all the dead yesterday at church.
Names, and ages.
After about the fourth ‘age 6′, I couldn’t stop weeping. I have an age 6, age 7. They read the names, in prayer, of all the departed. There is a time to grieve, a time to honor image-bearers destroyed by violence.
But in offering them up to God, we are claiming joy. We rest in knowing God is at hand, the kingdom of God is living and active everywhere.
The joy of incarnation releases us to be sad, but not to be hopeless. We have been given tidings of comfort and joy.
Not just joy. Great joy. For all people.
The incarnation is for everyone. The angels didn’t merely bring ‘good tidings’; they brought ‘evaggelizo‘ – the gospel. The gospel is so much fuller than the salvation message (thank you Scot McKnight!)
The kingdom of heaven breaking into earth is great joy, for all people.
“The central question of the Bible is not, ‘how can I be saved?…The central question of the New Testament is, ‘who is Jesus?’”
believed the Kingdom of God was breaking into history.
“To speak of the kingdom of God arriving or being near is to evoke a host of images, ideas and expectations from the Bible on into Jesus’ world of Essenes and Sadducees and Pharisees and Zealots. From the promises to Abraham of a land and a people and kings, to God’s promise to David for an eternal king and kingdom, right on through the prophetic visions of shalom and justice and heartfelt Torah observance, all of this and more, Jesus balled up into the word kingdom and said, ‘Get ready, it’s almost here. In fact, in some ways it is already here.’” – King Jesus Gospel
declares a new society in the land.
declares a new citizenship.
is announcing the Kingdom of God.
declares he is at the center of the kingdom of God.
“In the beginning God turned what existed into a cosmic temple. In the beginning God made two Eikons, Adam and Eve…..for one dark moment the Eikons acted the part of God….Sadly, all the descendants of Adam and Eve have proven their pattern. We are all usurpers……After years of deafening silence, God moved into the final plan and suddenly broke into history with someone who was both descendant and non-descendant, someone who would rule rightly and not as a usurper. God sent to Israel Jesus, through Mary and Joseph, and God told Mary through an angel that her son, Jesus, would someday rule on God’s behalf as Messiah.” – King Jesus Gospel
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy , which shall be to all people.
Tidings of comfort and joy.
Our joy rests in the fact that Messiah was here, is here, will be here again. Our joy comes from knowing the fullness of who Jesus is.
Our joy does not depend on external situations. We cannot escape evil, danger, or even death, but our joy cannot be taken from us.
Good tidings of great joy.
The Birth of Wonder
As I grow older
I get surer
Man’s heart is colder,
His life no purer.
As I grow steadily
I come less readily
To Christmas each year.
I can’t keep taking
Without a thought
And presents bought
In crowds and jostling.
Alas, there’s naught
In empty wassailing
Where oblivion’s sought.
Oh, I’d be waiting
With quiet fasting
A joy more lasting.
And so I rhyme
With no apology
During this time
Judgment and warning
Come like thunder:
But now is the hour
When I remember
An infant’s power
On a cold December.
Midnight is dawning
And the birth of wonder.
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Check out the Christmas Spotify playlists we created: Hope Love Joy Christmas hymns