The announcement of Christ’s entry into the world must have been stirring for the family and friends of Mary and Joseph. Undoubtedly a mixture of anxiety, hope, confusion, and wonder heavied their hearts; but it wouldn’t be heavy for long, as it was soon replaced with a melody of joy.
Joy has long been a theme in the best Christmas carols. We sing, “O tidings of comfort and joy” and “Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise His holy name.”
There is joy in the story of Jesus’ birth in the Scriptures, too. When Mary heard of the good news of bearing the world’s Messiah, she was captivated with praise singing, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” The joyous melody of God erupted in Mary’s soul, and all she could do was express it in spontaneous song.
The same occurred in Luke 2. The shepherds paused for the night to allow the sheep to graze and get some much needed rest. Suddenly, their rest was interrupted by a light so encompassing that it left no shadows. Behold, the darkness of the night sky exploded with a choir of angels singing the melody of Christ’s birth. We are told that the tired shepherds had one response – terror. After all, it isn’t every night the sky bursts in glorious light and bellowing song. However, the angels’ message turned terror into celebration. The angels sang of “good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Good news and great joy – the shepherds needed some good news and great joy, and so could we. The promise that began in Genesis 3 to restore the good world God created was now bursting into magnificent reality and the shepherds had a front row seat.
The birth of Jesus was clearly accompanied with a melody of joy, exuberance, and elation. But why? The angels answer that for us when they state to the shepherds that “today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.” Now THAT is a message of joy. Once enslaved by sin, humanity was unchained by the work of this promised Child, known as Jesus of Nazareth.
Here in the birth of Jesus, the melody of the Father reaches its highest crescendo. No wonder Mary sings with joy! No wonder the angels rejoice! No wonder God’s people have been singing with joy for centuries! We became the messengers of joy with our song – and what a melody of praise it is. So cue the strings, strike up the band, raise the voices – a Savior has been born to us.
Can you hear the melody?
This reflection was written by Bill Kuhn, who is the V.P. of Student Development/Campus Chaplain at Crown College.