And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:8-14 ESV)
If you look up at joy at Miriam-Webster.com you will find these three definitions:
The first describes an emotion. That’s not what the angels were talking about. The second definition is very similar; it’s a state that we can be in, which means it is temporary. Happiness is conditional, it depends on what is going on around us at the time. Look at definition 3: a source or cause of delight. Jesus coming into the world is the cause for our celebration of Christmas. He is the source of hope, our comforter and friend. He described himself as the vine and his followers as the branches. Just as roots that reach into the ground for life-giving water Jesus is the transport system by which we come into God’s presence. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life; without him there is no other.
We can be happy today and sad tomorrow. Our emotions change for many reasons and sometimes for no reason at all. But our joy, the source and cause for delight, that is eternal.