Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Comfort and Joy

While some thrive on shopping, I generally wilt.  And at Christmas the pressure only intensifies as it seems everyone's happiness depends on me, the mom.  She must find the perfect gifts, bake the most detailed cookies, clean the house, glaze the ham, and stuff the socks.  The season snowballs into a flurry of unrealistic expectation, all for want of comfort and joy. 

Don't get me wrong.  Most of the time I enjoy serving in this way.  But I am better at gifts of time and labor than on the commercial scene at the stores.  Yet, there is one thing the secular holiday hype does for me.

It causes me to thirst.

In all the empty perfection, the staged happiness, I crave meaning.  All I want is Jesus.  He is so precious, so sacred, so near and dear to my heart, that I am offended by anything less. 

For the first time ever, I watched, (on TV), the ceremonial lighting of the tree in New York City.  With song after song, talented artists reminded us of snowmen and bells, reindeer and gifts.  But as the night wore on, what was meant to be fun, ended sleazy.  The mention of Christ was sadly missing.

However, when at last the tree was lit, the entire crowd burst into, "Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her King!"  I almost cried.  Finally, something deeper than the surface, something pure, something worth celebrating, and Someone who quenches my thirsty soul. 

Yes, I can join in a great round of Jingle Bells or Santa Baby just like anyone else.  I've even learned how to enjoy shopping.  In fact, I am headed out right now to do that very thing.  And it gets even better.  My husband is coming with me.  Now that's what I call fun!  But it doesn't make Christmas.  For those who know Jesus, the season is filled with rich significance, wonder, and awe.  That is the heart of my fulfillment.

We return this evening to a middle school orchestra concert in a hot, crowded gym, but I can say with all my heart, "This is the day the LORD has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it."  (Psa. 118:24)  While the 1980's made this phrase into a cheesy little Sunday School song, if we understood its context, we would think differently.  These words express the cry of Jesus the very day He was to face the cross. Whoa!  Suddenly the phrase holds great meaning.  If He could embrace that day with such an attitude, surely his joy can permeate this hectic season!

When the shopping, baking, and gifting is all stripped away, we are left with a baby in a barn, wrapped only in swaddling clothes.

He is enough. 

God rest ye merry gentlemen, (and ladies!), let nothing you dismay.
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day.
To save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray,
Oh tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy, oh tidings of comfort and joy!

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