Finding Christmas Joy
This past decade has probably brought more changes than any decade I’ve lived through. I’ve only lived in three decades so that’s not saying too much but still the changes feel huge. In the past decade, I went from a single college kid living in Charlotte to a married pastor living in Shelby. My most impactful Christmas this past decade definitely would be the first Christmas spent with my wife.
The Christmas of 2015 was one of newness for me. It would be the first Christmas Sara Beth and I, would spend as husband and wife. Before this, I wasn’t much of a decorator. As a single person living alone, I didn’t care to make my house Christmas-y. After moving out of my parents' home, I did not bother with a tree, there were no lights, not so much as one Christmas candle. Now with my new wife the same house that in years past was dark all Christmas looked as though it could be the setting for a Hallmark movie. A once empty corner was filled with a tree covered in lights and matching ornaments; a blank mantle was topped with garland; peppermint and holly candles were placed on tables. Emptiness was replaced with life, darkness with replaced with light.
Thinking back on this, I can’t help but think about the shepherds in the field the night the angels appeared. They didn’t even know what they were missing. When I was single, there was less Christmas joy and flare but now there is no denying it. Now I love Christmas, I didn’t even know what I was missing with all the Christmas lights and fun. In the same way, the shepherds were out minding their own business not knowing that tonight was no normal night, tonight their life was going to change forever, tonight THE Light was entering into the world. The hope, the overwhelming joy they must have felt seeing the baby Jesus in the manger must have left them speechless. I can be sure that they knew they would never be the same.
What is it that we are missing this Christmas that is right in front of us? Is it savoring the season, as busy as it is, while your kids are young? Is it not getting away to have time alone with God while reading His word and praying since there is so much going on? Is it living to get through the season rather than living in it?
My wife taught me the value of realizing the joy that can be found in this season, I hope you see it too.
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”