Advent 4.5: How Great Our Joy

Light all three purple candles and the pink/red candle.
Read: Luke 2:8-14

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”


I was reminded recently of an old hymn that talks about the joy of Christ’s coming called, ‘How Great Our Joy.” The song is a German carol that captures the excitement that the shepherds must have felt at the announcement of the messiah’s birth.

Have you ever wondered what the shepherds felt when they heard the news? Was it fear? Was it confusion? Or was it pure joy? The angel told them not to be afraid and that the news was joyful but I suppose the shepherds felt a combination of all three emotions. Whatever they truly felt, it was enough to compel them to leave their jobs and rush into town to find the stable or cave of Christ.

The German carol accurately captures this mixture of emotions. It goes:

While by the sheep we watched at night
Glad tidings brought an angel bright
How great our joy! Joy! Joy! Joy!
Praise be the Lord in heaven on high!

Can you see the excitement in those words? Can you imagine your reaction to the angel? Can you imagine leaving your job to rush to the cradle bedside of a newborn?

It must be joy. Joy, Joy, joy.

— Be God’s.

Sample Prayer

“Our Father in heaven, we light this candle to thank You for Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, who brings us great joy. We thank You that just as the messenger brings good news of great joy, the gospel of Your Son has brought joy to the hearts of many who were without hope. Help us, Father, to rejoice like the angels rejoiced when Your Son took on flesh for our salvation. And let us rejoice in His holy name. Amen.