Friday, the third week of advent devotion comes from Michael Hoy's, "Light of Grace: Devotions for Advent."
But the angels said to them, "Do not be afraid, for see, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people."
LUKE 2:10 NRSV
The first words of the messenger spoken to these lowly shepherds might shed some light on why this light in the night sky is one of great joy: "Fear not." We should not be afraid as we stand in the presence of God, for we are now welcomed to hearers of this amazing grace. This amazing grace that shines in the midst of our darkness if for us all: It is the "good news of great joy."
The "good news" is that Jesus the Christ comes to enter the darkness of our sin and reclaim sinners as God's own children. And the "great joy" of this message is that it is not just for the shepherds on the hillside but for the whole world. No one is to be left out in the cold. No one is to be removed from the celebration. It is that inclusive and inviting.
The darkness or our sin within can make us become mum about the "great joy" of Jesus' "good news." But in the grace of Christ's coming, their are no sinners, scammers or losers. What makes Christ's grace amazing is that it "saved a wretch like me," as "Amazing Grace" says. Jesus brings us the victory over sin and death, frees us from all fear and judgement and embraces us with the promise that sinners like us - all of us - are surrounded and saved with great joy!
Lord, the greatness of your joy shines upon us in the depth of our sinful darkness. But in you, we do not fear because we live in your grace. Amen.