When I read this verse, I cannot help but smile. In the Greek, “great joy” translates to "mega-gladness" or "loud gladness." And indeed, can you imagine how loud the angels must have sounded that night? I’m not entirely sure what “a multitude of the heavenly host” (Luke 2:13) sounded like, but it must have been stunning.
It makes me think of the section in Handel’s Messiah that tells this part of the story. The soprano soloist sings a recitative, “And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying” before the choir erupts into “Glory to God! Glory to God in the highest!” This section of the piece features the strings and brass playing a quick and excited melody while the choir alternates between bold unison declarations and overlapping lines of excitement. The whole thing sounds energetic, joyful, and excited.
Maybe you, like me this Christmas, are not experiencing joy in the “multitude of the heavenly host” variety. Instead, it looks like the more common, every day, little moment variety. This is beautiful, too. It takes great perseverance in the midst of the hardships and trials of life to choose to walk in the joy the Holy Spirit provides. We can have “great joy” this season because Jesus Himself is our joy. We do not have to manufacture joy, rather, we get to walk in it as we walk with Him. He has come – Emmanuel, God with us – and this brings joy to our hearts.
So, this Advent season, take time to notice the little things. Slow down and take time – notice how the Lord is working around you. Take joy in His presence with you, and may your joy be a light to those around you.
 Good recordings of Messiah can be found on most music streaming services – I was listening to one by the Academy and Chorus of St. Martin-in-the-Fields that was lovely.