Shepherds were dirty, uneducated men with grime under their fingernails and sludge in their brains. There were a group of these shepherds one night, huddled around a fire in the inky, black of night. These muddy specimens of humanity were cold and shivering while trying to stay awake. Their only responsibility in life was to keep track of a herd of dumb sheep that were restless, disobedient and lice-infested.
Shepherds were a hopeless crew of men with nothing to look forward to because they knew that nothing about their lives would ever change. Life can become quickly pointless if you are a man who lives with sheep drool on his clothes and sheep dung between his toes.
This night ... this particular night ... was no different from thousands of other dark, cold lonely nights for this woebegone band of brothers. When the night couldn't get any blacker and the sheep couldn't get any more cantankerous, suddenly, in an instant of time, something so miraculous happened that life would never again be the same for these men. And the miracle of it all is that life will never be the same for you or for me as well.
Unexpectedly, heaven exploded into their small, cold and dark world. The song of the angels burst forth into the war zone of earth and proclaimed the joy of heaven into the hopeless and meaningless existence of the shepherds.
Stars were falling and bursting in rare and glorious colors while the heavens opened, and a majestic angel choir began to sing a mighty symphony that can still be heard today!
Jesus invaded this dark, cold world with heaven's joy, and it is still His gift to you today. His presence in your life makes shepherds dance and angels sing. Your heart can become an explosion of joy because of the birth of a baby over 2,000 years ago.
You can receive joy because of Jesus ... you can walk in peace because of this baby.
"Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10b-11, KJV).
The first word that the angels used to describe the birth of Jesus Christ was the word "joy," and I believe it should be the first word used to describe you as well. Joy is the birthmark of a Christian because when you accept Jesus into your heart you are branded for life with His joy. You have become a vessel of His presence where there is always fullness of joy.
Your life has now become purposeful as you carry the Christ child to this inky, restless world. The hopelessness of your life has dissipated because you now understand the honor of transmitting the joy of His presence to the muddy specimens of humanity.
The song of the angels was never meant to be heard only by a solitary group of shepherds. When the angels sang that night, they were singing to those of you with the drool of life upon your heart and the dung of circumstances in your soul. The symphony of heaven ricochets through the ages and has as its focused destination your cold and lonely existence. Joy truly has come to your world, and nothing will ever be the same again!
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written 10 books, including The Rooms of a Woman's Heart; Defiant Joy!;Holy Estrogen!; No More Ordinary; Refined; Joy For All Seasons; Let There Be Joy!; Pass the Joy, Please!; Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue; and Stormproof, which releases on March 1, 2019. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at carolmcleodministries.com.
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