“…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 fear. And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of a 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.'” Luke 2:8-12
Our sermon at the Christmas service last night was called, “Something to Celebrate.” When we’re filled with joy, we want to celebrate, but what inspires this joyful spirit?
Some are joyful in anticipation of giving or getting the perfect gift. What is it your heart desire? The latest electronic gadget? Clothing with the most popular designer label? Or maybe that special gift is something very practical, something needed but out of reach financially. I remember the year our younger daughter gave her sister her old car when she purchased a new one. This was a generous gift of the heart, that helped the rest of the family out tremendously.
Some are joyful at the prospect of getting together with friends and family, maybe some folks they rarely see during the year. Yesterday my daughter, granddaughter, two of my siblings and two nephews spent some time visiting with my mother, who has dementia and Parkensen’s. The joy in her eyes was apparent as she smiled at us.
Others are filled with joy in following the many traditions of their family, church, or community. Singing particular carols, attending the candlelight service, baking fruitcakes and cookies, decorating the tree: all these things bring joyful memories to mind.
If we’re honest quite a few of us are joyful when the visiting is done, the decorations are put away, the presents unwrapped, the cookies baked and eaten, and we can go back to “normal” life and get some rest.
Amidst all the Christmas trappings, the glitter and the glitz, the generosity and the greed, the hospitality and the stress, we need to take time to remember the true source of our joy.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Now that’s cause for joy in every season!