Make Space for Joy

Imagine you're about to cross into the city to get your hands on an item sale priced for one day only 
when an angel shatters the atmosphere above the bridge, churning air and water with powerful wing beats. 

What if you're doing an ordinary grocery run when, just as you are pondering the actual
value of celery, a fiery, celestial being lights the entire store overhead?

Can you fathom cleaning the tub, washing the dishes, or taking out the trash 
when reality, as you know it, tears in half to make room for a new one? 

What about those Luke 2 shepherds?
NO ONE had visited from heaven in 400 years, so NO ONE could have been expecting what 
happened that night in the fields just outside Bethlehem. It would be as shocking for us as it was for those shepherds! After all, angels in Old Testament most often carried out God's wrath and were  greatly feared. 
Check this amazing example in 2 Samuel when David actually sees 
an angel who's busy killing disobedient Israelites.

So the first words from the mouth of that specially chosen angel make sense, right?
Fear Not!

The opening phrase of God's message graciously took away the need for fear 
and made space for the wonder of the next part of the message.
... Good news of great joy! ... a Savior!

It's still the same for us today, isn't it? 
We sit in traffic and feel the racing heartbeat of an anxiety attack working its way to full force;
ponder celery and worry about the grocery bill in light of lengthy unemployment;
clean the tub with Soft Scrub wet by tears, fearing for the wayward child.

I think we often don't experience wonder and joy (they go together) because it's too often crowded out 
by fear. Fear boxes out and holds the places in my heart meant for real JOY.

But we can set aside fear and follow the example of the shepherds. 
They heard the message, shook off fear and dread, and chased down the Good News.
This golden angel has kept watch at our Christmases for about ten years. I like his serene face and poised, not clasped, hands. In this photo, he stood high on a shelf in our living room, sometimes lit with candlelight.
This year, he faces toward the road from a side window.

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