Joy to the world, the Lord is come; let earth receive her King!
Wait a minute. Back up. The baby born while his parents were on a road trip mandated by a crazy law, lying in a food trough, is our King? The much-anticipated, desperately hoped for Savior just came into the world in stable? This is how joy came into the world?
Sometimes, it is a struggle to receive joy when we don't like the package it comes in. I can't know for sure, but I can only imagine that this is how Mary felt. Alone, confused, probably not joyful; and yet, God had promised her good things. He called her highly favored and promised a son that would change not only the nation of Israel, but the whole world for eternity. The grandeur and joy those words must have elicited in Mary's heart certainly didn't match their humble surroundings.
So there she is in a stable with her newborn son. This promised one. With only Joseph to celebrate and welcome the greatest gift. She may have understood all of that, but I definitely wouldn't have. I find myself thinking that my joy is going to come the way I expect it and then end up pretty disappointed. And if I'm being honest, I have a hard time celebrating what I deem to be the ordinary and mundane things in my life. But just a few verses later, we see that God is in the business of not letting his faithfulness go unnoticed.
"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But 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.
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:8-11, 13-15
On a night that felt ordinary, and maybe even a little disappointing, God chose to bring forth Joy. It didn't matter where or what people were expecting because this joy is unrelated to circumstance. It is orchestrated by the Father and steadfast in the promises of God. And because of this, we get to live full of joy every day. In the mundane of our jobs, or the pain of loss, or the fear of disappointment, the Lord is always breaking through, fulfilling his promises and celebrating the advent of joy in our lives.
Let every heart prepare Him room.
By Abigail Griffin