Repeat the Sounding ... Joy?
Repeat the sounding … Joy?
We all know that song right? Joy to the World.
A Christmas carol classic to be sure. But why does it seem that joy is the furthest thing from people’s reality during Christmas???
I mean seriously.
I don’t see a lot of joy in the shopping mall.
Or in the parking lot.
Or in my own heart sometimes if I’m honest.
There are decorations to pull out. Stockings to hang. Lists to make. Then lose. Then make again.
Shopping. Wrapping. In laws. Baking. Entertaining. Visiting. Family. Parties. Traffic jams. Bills. Did I mention in laws?
I think we expect the joy to come when … the stress leaves. When the chaos settles. When the in laws go home.
But as I was contemplating this blog - thinking of a “how to reduce stress this season" post - I realized something profound. Well, profound to me.
Christmas - and the joy it represents - came out of chaos. Amid chaos. Because of chaos.
If we consider the real reason for the season - my real reason anyways - and look beyond the feel good quotient, we see the chaos through which joy was birthed.
We have this idyllic picture of the nativity scene. A peaceful baby. A well rested Mary and Joseph. Well behaving, groomed animals. A pleasant evening by all accounts.
But was that really what it was like?
I mean, a very pregnant Mary (who got pregnant as an unwed teenager and would have been shunned by many of her contemporaries) had to travel 90 miles. On a donkey. In winter. When it rains like heck and the nights are freezing. And you know what else?
Lions. And bears. And bandits. Oh my.
Not a very stress-free time.
And did the chaos end once they got to Bethlehem? Ahhh…. No room at the inn? During contractions? I’d say no. A hard no.
Pretty hard to find the joy when you look at the human realities of the situation.
But that’s the thing about joy. It exists beyond the human reality, cultivated in our spirit by the heavenly reality.
And the heavenly reality is that God chose a lineage full of adulterers and murderers and just plain not cool peeps to bring CHRISTmas to life! That means no matter your heritage, your parents, or your crazy drunk uncle Bob - Christ’s grace is for you.
The heavenly reality is that the chaos of this cold world is exactly why Christ came - and he wants to infiltrate the coldness of your world with his love and mercy.
The heavenly reality is that there is a HOPE that exists beyond your current situation. That healing and restoration came in a manger as the ultimate Christmas gift for you.
You know, considering all of that - the heavenly realities that came in chaos - it becomes difficult not to feel joy rise up like a wellspring in my heart.
Yes. Joy. Everlasting.
In my chaos. Because of my chaos.
That’s something worth repeating after all.