By REV. DR. BRIAN GIGEE
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” -Psalm 16:11
Christmas JOY. JOY… the word reminding us all about what was… what is… and what is to come! Connect the JOY of Christmas with hope, love and peace and you have the complete recipe for a wonderful celebration! And before I get too far along… please let me say to everyone… ‘merry Christmas and a blessed new year!’ God is faithful in all things… and if there is any one thing I know… Christmas comes all by itself… without our permission, coaxing or demands… whether we are ready or not, naughty or nice or just simply don’t care… as it’s a celebration not about any of us… but rather a celebration for all of us!
I remember a time when a family was trying to make plans for their Christmas dinner. Call it a ‘command performance.’ The logistics were critical, and some had reasons to be one place while others in the family would be in another. This, however, wasn’t new. It seems like it happened every year like that. Clarity came when the demand came… “If you don’t come… you’ll ruin Christmas!” Nobody wanted that so everyone met! Until that one year. That one year when the youngest in the family said in a Bill Murry “Hey, wait a minute…” kind of voice saying… “you can’t ruin Christmas… we’re not in charge of Christmas.” Listen to the children!
See? The JOY we have at Christmas is due to God’s presence… the presence of Jesus in the world… a presence which has turned the world upside down and sideways for 2000 years! It wasn’t always like that and we are promised that the life we have now will not always be what it is. As Christmas comes all by itself… year after year… we live cheerfully with a Christmas JOY that lingers within us year-round… A gift from God for everyone! As in matters of faith it is God who gives the JOY.
So, what does Christmas JOY look like? I have many examples… and I know you do, too… Christmas JOY that looks like a new born baby… or a friend released from prison… news of a daughter or son’s safe return from deployment half way around the world… and that diagnosis by the medical staff that grandma’s going to be all right and home soon… all much better images than that new pick-up truck with a silver bow on it or that watch which tells you what time it is in Paris, Singapore and Saturn…
And here’s my most recent image of Christmas JOY… as one of my oldest and best friends in life prepares to bury his 90-year-old mom… in her obituary it was said…
“Although the family is saddened from Shirley’s passing, her love of Christmas gives us comfort as she leaves us this time of year. Christmas was her favorite time of year and she lived everyday as it if were Christmas Day through her generous giving and willingness to help others. Her greatest joys in life were spending time with family, serving her Lord, her church, entertaining, and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
Christmas JOY. It comes all by itself. God willed it! We can’t ruin it… because it is a JOY that can live in any of us… showing us a way to meet each day having both present and eternal implications! Like the old song reminds us… “JOY to the world; the Lord is come… let earth receive her king…” May Christmas JOY be yours!
The Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland, having pastored four churches over the last four decades in Texas and Louisiana. You can read more following his blog ‘murmurings’ at https://briangigee.wordpress.com/. Comments and / or questions can be sent to [email protected].