A short series in Advent focusing on a few significant snapshots of the Christmas story and the amazing gifts they reveal.
Christmas without a doubt is the most conflicted holiday.
For many it’s a time of joy and celebration. Watching the magic through the eyes of a child. Connecting with family and friends.
Yet, for many others it’s depressing.
Those grieving the loss of a loved one who won’t be at Christmas.
Those apart from their loved ones because of circumstances beyond their control.
Those recently divorced and experiencing Christmas alone.
Add to that the non-stop activities that many of us get caught up in which in the moment are fun but can leave us exhausted. And when the buzz wears off the depression returns even worse.
And Christmas so often disappoints because it just never seems to live up to the hype.
We see this conflict in the Christmas story.
Mary has just been told by an angel she will become miraculously pregnant with the one who will be the long awaited Messiah.
Mary given a choice simply has said yes. “God I trust in you. Let it happen as you’ve promised.”
Yet, think about what this means to Mary. She’s pregnant though not married and still a virgin. In her society she will be shunned at the least or stoned to death at the worst.
She’ll be rejected by her fiancé Joseph who knows he’s not the father.
This event is anything but joyful to her and carries huge risk.
So she flees in confusion to her cousin Elizabeth who also is miraculously pregnant though married.
And when they meet Mary miraculously begins singing a song of rejoicing.
“I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!” (Luke 1: 46-48 MSG)
She simply overflows with joy.
A joy where there was once fear.
A joy that praises God in anticipation of his faithfulness.
A joy that looks past the current sorrows to the blessings God will give.
A joy that enters in where it makes no sense for it to exist.
A joy which cannot be contained and praises God for his love.
A joy that fills the deepest loneliness and hurts.
Do you need that kind of joy infusion this Christmas?
The true joy of Christmas is dependent on the one we celebrate not the celebration.
When have you discovered the true joy of Christmas?