"That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior - yes, the Messiah, the Lord - has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others - the armies of heaven - praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased” (From the New Testament book, Luke, chapter 2, verses 8 through 14.)
This is my favorite time of year. I love the time from Thanksgiving ‘til New Years Day. There are 3 big holidays in a month and half; also there is my birthday (Dec. 31 - don’t forget!) The biggest of them all, especially for me, is Christmas Day. During each stage of my life this day has had different meanings. Being married and having an awesome wife and a wonderful son makes this a special day for me. I love getting Courtney and MD gifts. I love filling up their stockings with knick-knacky stuff. I also enjoy the gifts they get me.
One thing that happens to me during this time is things get really busy and everything becomes a whirlwind. Christ came as a child to bring us great joy, not just happiness, but joy. Happiness is based on happenings, from one moment to another. Depending on the moment we are in depends on whether or not we are happy. Joy is from within; it is eternal and a state of mind. Joy is not based on circumstances or events, it’s not a next-door neighbor named Joy or something you jump for. Joy is what you have regardless of what you are going through. Joy is what helps sustain you in the dark moments of life.
The good news of the angels to the shepherds, “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people…” This “joy” is for everyone, not just for a few people but for every single person on this planet. God cares deeply for you; He cares about how you feel and what you are going through. He sees your struggles, your circumstances, your busy-ness, and your depression. He knows about the economy, your oddball family members and the parties/gathering during this time of year. He wants you to experience joy, not just between now and News Years Day but all year - every single day of your life."