Thursday, 22 December 2016

Advent 30 Day Retreat: Week 3 Day 25

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
Prepared by Susanne Timpani
Reflection by: Ray Pritchard

If there is a single word that describes what Christmas is all about, it’s the little word “joy.” Several of our favorite carols mention it:

 “Joy to the world, the Lord is come,”
 "O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,”
“Shepherds, why this jubilee, why your joyous strains prolong?”
“Good Christian men, rejoice, with heart and soul and voice,”
“Joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies, with th’ angelic host proclaim, ‘Christ is born in Bethlehem."

I wonder how many of us felt joyful this morning? Part of our problem is that we’ve got the wrong idea about joy. We tend to connect it with happiness and think that joy depends on our circumstances. You can’t have joy by going from one party to another or frantically racing through the shopping mall. In fact, going to the mall this time of year is an excellent way to lose your joy.

Where does Christmas joy come from? Reflect on the words of Luke 2:8-10 to discover the answer:

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 of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

Here’s a quote from Dean Willimon that seems to put this passage in perspective: “Christmas is a delightful disruption of the way things normally go.”

I like that phrase “delightful disruption” because it catches the spirit of Luke 2. One moment you’re tending the sheep in the middle of the night, the next you’re being scared out of your wits by an angelic choir. I don’t know how delightful that is, but it’s definitely a disruption.

The angel comes with “good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” What is this “good news of great joy?” Verse 11 has the answer.

'to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah,[a] the Lord.' 

If you are looking for Christmas joy, I suggest that you can find all you need in this single verse.