One of the lessons I am learning while writing the Advent messages for our Sunday services, is that although I may understand what something is on an intellectual level - it's often very hard to translate that into words.

Or at least words that will leave some kind of impression upon the reader.
What is Joy exactly?

 I mean, we all KNOW what Joy is -- yet, how many of us would be able to describe it effectively.   Let alone say we truly live joyful lives?
Is it because we have such difficulty actually experiencing that emotion that makes it so difficult to describe?

Could it be that we are actually afraid of feeling such intense emotion?

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 that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Christ, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Life is a constant flow and a good portion of us spend our time trying to control it.  We chase happy moments, but like a cold pool of water that we just dip our toes into, happiness or joy is often also approached with caution.  As though it might be spooked were we to just dive on in and become immersed.  Our minds pondering with fear:  How Long Will It Stay?  We humans can have great difficulty in Allowing.
I can share with you a secret:  happiness won't always last.  It will go.  Change into something else for a time.  But, it will return.  The trick is to learn to recognize those moments and to be still, quiet so you can receive the joy fully.  Enjoy the moment and not worry about the future.
Perhaps that is why angels appeared to shepherds.  The significance of their humble station demonstrates God's intention that this Good News was for ALL people.  I believe also their vocation lent itself to being quiet and watchful, and thus open to receive this miraculous news.  They were not busied by other things.  Or worrying about the future.  Despite their initial fear, these humble, diligent shepherds were able to allow the moment.  They were not only able to feel the flow of Joy within themselves, but they carried it forth to others.  These humble shepherds understood the most important part of the heavenly message concerning the good news of the coming Saviour:  Share the Joy!

Here's a shot that I did for our Christmas production last year  -- with Angel Girl living up to her call sign.