Good News of Great Joy
by Pam Farrel
Christmas and joy are paired in most of our minds: The joy of spending the holidays with family and friends; the joy of gift giving; and the joy of twinkling lights, the scent of pine and the sound of carols wafting in the air. So, what is the source of all the joy we so long for?
“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of 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 ESV).
In Discovering Good News in John: A Creative Bible Study Experience, I focused my weekly devotionals on the names of Jesus in John. The one that stands out at Christmas is “I am the Light.”
“Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life’” (John 8:12 ESV) .
Christ claims He is the SOURCE of light. Strong’s Concordance adds, light is “the manifestation of God's self-existent life; divine illumination to reveal and impart life, through Christ.” Commentator FB Meyer proposes that Jesus might have been referring to the huge golden candelabra of the temple court that was lit for the Feast of Tabernacles in celebration of God leading Israel as a cloud by day and a fire by night.
In my own life, I can mark the moment I moved out of darkness and into God’s marvelous light. I am the first-born daughter of an alcoholic dad, whose brokenness caused him to rage and be abusive. My mom’s best friend saw the chaos we were living in and invited us to church. As a seven-year-old girl, I walked into church, and I was met with a congregation full of loving, joy-filled people. I knew I wanted to know the Author of Love, Jesus. I wanted clarity, courage and confidence for living—I wanted to walk in the light!
Darkness brings fear, discouragement and despair. When you walk in Christ’s light, it leads to an abundant and joyful life!
Jesus is the light that the darkness cannot extinguish.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5 NIV).
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5 NIV).
Jesus, the Light that conquers darkness, is GOOD NEWS! To gain this victory over darkness, we are to follow Him, by accompanying Jesus and traveling the same road as His disciple. When we maintain this intimate relationship with Jesus, the verse explains we will not walk in darkness—we will not choose acts of darkness which can block the light of God, rather, we will desire to walk out Christ’s life of light.
How can we walk in the light?
Years ago, our friends and authors, Paul and Virginia Friesen, invited us to speak on Catalina Island for a rustic family camp. Paul explained we would stay in the deluxe cabin, meaning there is a lightbulb with a chain you can pull to turn on the light.
Pull the chain! Call out to the LIGHT of heaven, then walk out these four simple steps:
Step in the Light!
“For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light” (Ephesians 5:8).
Layer God’s Word into your life through attending church, being in a small group Bible study, listening to Christian podcasts and videos and reading Christian books.
“But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress” (Psalm 59:16 ESV).
The most important words I utter each morning are, “Alexa, play Christian music!” Fill your life with songs, hymns and worship. Set your car radio to belt out Christmas carols and sing along.
Personalize and pray God’s Word out loud. Here is an example from Ephesians 6:10-17 NIV:
Finally, (insert your name) be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
During the holiday season, pick up an Advent wreath or some Christmas-themed candles from your local Christian bookstore. Then take time with your family to proclaim your faith and express gratitude to the One who came to be your light.
Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 58 books, including bestselling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti and co-author of the award-winning Discover the Bible series, including the newest Discovering Good News in John. To download the Farrel’s Christmas Dinner and Dialogue Questions and Advent Wreath Celebration, go towww.Love-Wise.com