The angel announced to the shepherds that the birth of Jesus was an event that brings exceedingly great joy.

In many ways, the Christmas season is not a time we would describe as filled with exceedingly great joy. Instead, it is often a time filled with stress, appointments, events, parties, deadlines, traffic, or the financial strain that follows.

Sometimes, it heightens the pain we experience when seated around a table with chairs that are empty that were previously filled with those we love. It also means seats are sometimes filled by people who have hurt us, and to be truthful we prefer not to be at the table.

All of this is because we live in a broken and cursed world, and we are broken people.

So, how can we experience exceedingly great joy in the midst of the pain, loss and hurt?

Remember. Remember what Jesus’ birth means.

God is always with us. We may experience times of loneliness, but we are never alone.

Peace, we know that even in the pain and sorrow there will come a day and a place where there will be no pain or sorrow.

Jesus’ birth also means there can now be peace between we who are sinners and a holy God. To know I have been and will be redeemed brings exceedingly great joy.