Written by Tim Wood

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11)

The virgin’s name was Mary.  And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women! (Luke 1:27-28). Mary said, “And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:47)

The angelic announcement to the shepherds and to Mary results in real joy to the hearers. The good news of Jesus being born and saving us from sin brings joy into our lives.

There was nothing extraordinary about the shepherds. There was nothing extraordinary about Mary. She wasn’t a princess. She didn’t live in a palace. She didn’t have a lot of wealth. She was barely a teen ager living in an ordinary household. And yet, when Jesus comes to her she has something to rejoice about. Mary’s spirit rejoiced over the good news of Jesus.  The presence of Jesus makes the ordinary extraordinary because God is with us. Rejoice!

Joy is good for your soul. Joy is good for your emotions. Did you know joy is good for your health? The Bible says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). Medical doctors tell us that a joyful spirit produces positive physical benefits. Laughter is good medicine. Joy can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and it will make your days merry and bright (sounds like a song).  Mary’s spirit rejoiced because of the good news of salvation in Jesus.  Real and lasting joy comes with receiving and believing and focusing on the good news of Jesus Christ.

Don’t confuse joy and happiness.  Happiness comes from joy; joy doesn’t come because you’re happy. Joy comes from the Lord. The joy of the Lord is my strength.  Joy comes from knowing that you are unconditionally loved and accepted by God.  Happiness is external; joy is internal. Happiness depends on outward circumstances; joy depends on inward transformation. Happiness depends on what happens to us; joy depends on Who lives in us. Happiness is based on chance; joy is based on choice. So choose joy today.

Joy to the world…the Lord is come!