JOY BEGINS AT THE BOTTOM
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.9 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.11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:8-11
It blows my mind to think how God orchestrated such an amazing way for Jesus to enter into the world. I mean it was not something that was just an afterthought. I mean, God began to lay out the details as soon as sin entered into the world in Genesis 3 and the plan started and continues to be revealed even today. This Good News of GREAT JOY is for ALL people that have been, that exist today and that will continue to be born into this world that has fallen to sin. What an amazing promise and guarantee. What an amazing story that we have probably just missed time and time again that the JOY that came in the form of a baby over 2,000 years ago is still available for us to take hold of today. And this JOY is something that truly is beyond any other joy that we have ever experienced. I can remember the days in my life where I experienced joy through the journey of marriage with my wife, the birth of our children, to the endless opportunities that I have had to watch the light bulb of truth finally turn on in the lives of students and adults. BUT... the TRUE JOY is still yet to be fully revealed. This is just the prequel to the ending part of the story on earth and JOY had to come down from His throne that was perfect into the imperfection of a sin filled world.
This is why my mind really is blown and it starts with a little bit of the conversation we started yesterday. This week we are digging deeper into the power of the shepherd's story and it begins in a field where they were seen as the lowliest of the lows. They were hired to tend the flock of others and they smelled, they were always dirty, and they were looked down as lesser people by the ones that hired them to watch their sheep. But what the people and the world did not understand is the fact that JOY was first expressed to Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and John the Baptist first. But the second people that were informed of the birth of the Messiah was the lowly shepherds who were willing to give their lives to protect their flock.
The same shepherds who were willing to leave the 99 behind in the safe field to search for the one that had gone astray. I don't think that this was just a lucky draw, but that God was very intentional to share the JOY that had come into the world to the ones that were willing to sacrifice it all to protect the flock. God revealed the JOY of eternity to the ones that were willing to step into the battle and later would use the model of the shepherd as a strategy to reach and equip disciples for the Kingdom. The JOY that they were able to experience was something that the ENTIRE world was going to hear about only after God introduced the New King... the NEW JOY to the ones that God knew was going to sacrifice it all to spread the JOY to the WORLD. They were the first messengers to tell the world what had happened in a cave in the city of Bethlehem.
So as we look at Luke's version of the story, we have to realize that this was a story that had been passed down from others that had heard and possibly seen the real event occur. Realize that Luke was not at the nativity... well neither were a lot of the ones that we put in our nativity for that matter. BUT, Luke reflected on the JOY that had been spread throughout the world and the GOSPEL had come to life and the GREAT JOY had entered into the world of our chaos in hopes of delivering us into a life filled with hope and peace. I just want you to take a second and pause and listen to one of my favorite renditions of the Luke 2 passage as Charles Shultz gives us a deeper meaning of CHRISTMAS as JOY entered into the world.
What an amazing reminder of the TRUE spirit of Christmas was the story of GREAY JOY that was sent for ALL PEOPLE. I still believe that some times we miss that fact. I think that we forget that God has a plan for ALL of HIS creation and that is the opportunity they also have to experience the TRUE JOY of Jesus Christ. We just get lost in the fact that Jesus only came for the ones that are already saved, and that is so not true. Jesus came to save the LOST. If we are already in a relationship with Jesus than we have already experienced the LIGHT that has come into the world. We are already living in the prequel of the fullness of JOY that is to come. We are this generation of the shepherds that have been called to go and tell the rest of the world of the Good News that has come into the world. Not just during the Christmas
season, but we are called to carry the message of JOY into the lives of every person that we meet every day. We already know how the story ends, and we have to spend our days sharing this JOY that still dwells in this world and is preparing to return to take us to spend eternity together in heaven. We are the new lowly ones that have been humbled by the blood of the Lamb and we are being asked to stand on the foundation of the shepherds that have gone before us and continue to tell the story. GOOD NEWS of GREAY JOY has come FOR ALL THE PEOPLE.... And we are the vessels, the mouthpieces, the lanterns that must carry this JOY to the World TODAY. TRUE JOY started at the bottom because God knew that there had to be a solid foundation to handle the rest of the Kingdom that was to be built. Thank you Jesus for being OUR GREAT JOY!Thank You for leaving the 99 for me who was the ONE and I pray to continue to find that same JOY I received the day that you found me to search out others that are lost and in need for the message of GREAT JOY!