Season’s greetings on this 19th day of December! As our Advent Devotionals are winding down for this season, we have yet another to share with you today. Our writer today is Jim Atwood, and as many of you know he serves both as an Instructor in the Department of Religion and as Assistant to the Dean in the Office of Admissions here at TCU. It’s also important to note that Jim is an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). As is often the case when it is time for me to identify our writers for devotionals, a couple of months ago I invited friends and colleagues to recommend individuals from the TCU community that they feel would enjoy contributing to this project. A name that was submitted again and again was Jim Atwood, which is a testament to his profound impact on this community. As you read this devotional today may you take these words to heart, and intentionally share your JOY with others this holiday season!
Luke 2:10 — And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people.”
Chapter one of the Gospel of Luke tells us that the angel Gabriel came to announce the birth first of John the Baptist and then of Jesus. Gabriel (also an important figure in the Hebrew Bible and, later on, in the Qur’an) served as the messenger of God, bringing the news that the world would soon be transformed by the unparalleled, radically inclusive, love and grace of Christ Jesus.
Gabriel, the messenger, brings news that the Good News is soon to come.
Christ acts as what one commentator calls “the hinge of history,” offering newness of life to all who encounter the Good News and then respond with lives of commitment and compassion.
And so we rejoice, especially during this season, because of the matchless gift we have received and continue to receive. It is important to recall clearly that part of the response to God’s grace, part of our responsibility is to serve, in a sense, as messengers as well, reprising to the extent of our capacity the role of Gabriel. Just as he worked to spread the Good News, in our own way, we can and we should.
Joy to the world can only come in fullness when those who have experienced the light of Christ convey the light to others, announcing that newness of life is real, that hope is here.
As messengers of the Good News, let us remain ever open, especially during this season, to identifying appropriate opportunities for sharing what we have experienced. In the process, the light of Christ will be magnified, and all of us will be enlivened.
Loving God, we are indeed grateful for the many gifts that you have given us. Help us, especially during this season, to experience fully the joy that you make possible and to share with others reflections of your grace. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.