“The angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” Luke 2:10–11
Jesus’ arrival brings joy and hope for all people. The shepherds felt that joy when they received the announcement of Jesus’ birth from the angels. We feel that joy when we celebrate the Incarnation at Christmas and when we look forward to Jesus’ second coming—when everything will be made right.
A joyful future
In Isaiah 35:1–10, the prophet looks forward to the future promised for the people of God—a future inaugurated at the first coming of Christ and consummated at his second coming. When Jesus returns, the effects of sin’s curse will be removed: the wildernesses and dry land will blossom, and streams will come forth from the desert. The miracles Jesus did illustrate what life will be like in his kingdom: “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy” (Isa. 35:5–6).
When God brings restoration, tears will be turned into shouts of joy.
God cares about those on the fringes of society, those who have no voice of their own and cannot speak for themselves. The Messiah has been anointed by God to bring good news to the poor and liberty to the captives, proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of God’s vengeance on evil and oppression. God is one who loves justice and mercy, and in his kingdom those who suffer from injustice will be restored. Jesus “will save the lame and gather the outcast, and [he] will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth” (Zeph. 3:19).
Tears into shouts of joy
Our joy at how God has saved us—and our hope for the complete salvation that is coming—leads Christians to want to share that joy and hope with others. Psalm 146:4–10 says that the one “who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry” is blessed. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind, lifts up the downcast, keeps watch over sojourners, and upholds widows and orphans (vv. 8–9). When God brings restoration to his people, there will be laughter and joy, and tears shall be turned into shouts of joy (Ps. 126:5).
What God has done for us motivates us to spread that joy.
In Matthew 11:2–11, John hears rumors about what Jesus was doing and asks him (through his disciples), “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Jesus responds to John’s followers: “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them” (Matt. 11:4–5). Jesus’ answer is incredibly fitting—“Look at what I’m doing,” he says. “You know that the Messiah will bring healing to those in need, and that’s exactly what I bring.”
As Christians, our joy at what God has done for us motivates us to spread that joy to others through both words and actions. We get to participate in God’s mission and help share the joy that is for all people: the Savior is here.