I’m thinking about the words of the Christmas song that include, “Joy, great joy!” The angels sang to shepherds who were in the fields among the sheep, not to the king sleeping among attentive servants in a comfortable bedroom of his palace.
The Magi brought gifts of wealth and significance to a child born to poor parents who would soon flee as immigrants to a foreign country. After all the promises and hopes, Joseph was warned to leave everything and everyone with his young family. Some joy.
And yet, God brought joy to all of mankind in the midst of the poverty, discomfort, and transitions of Joseph’s family. We are reassured about his care for us as the New Year approaches, no matter what it will look like.
O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth. You have set Your glory above the heavens. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon, the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth. Psalm 8:1, 3-5, 9 NKJV
And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David's ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
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."
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Let's go to Bethlehem! Let's see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.
After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds' story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them. Luke 2: 4-20