And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Luke 2:8-10
Joy. That is a word we don’t use often enough. Perhaps we do not have a true understanding of its meaning. According to the concordance it means ‘calm delight’. What image does ‘calm delight’ stir in you? For me it is a peace-filled gladness, or contentment I felt the first time I held my newborn babies.
Now imagine that you are a shepherd keeping watch over your flock when the glory of the Lord falls upon you and your friends. The experience makes you ‘sore afraid’. This term ‘sore afraid’ comes from three words that mean
1 – to be frightened or alarmed exceedingly, reverence
2 – exceedingly or greatest
3 – alarm or fright, exceedingly in fear or terror
I think the Word of God establishes just how fearful these shepherds were. Compare that to the news the angel brought. His news was of an exceedingly great calm delight that would be available for all people. I envision a world filled with an unshakable peace where people are too busy worshiping God to cause trouble for themselves or others. While the world has not received Him, those of us who have can still carry this calm delight everywhere we go. It isn’t something that can be taken from us though we often give it away in exchange for the false pleasures and even for the heartaches of this world. Fight for the joy our Heavenly Father has prepared for us through the birth and sinless death of His Son and our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33