December 19, 2010

The Night the Angels Sang

 “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’” (Luke 2:13‑14 NRSV).


A cold Winter night? A warm Spring evening? A Fall day? God knows what the time of year was, what the day of the week was, what the weather was, but those are not the important things, ¼what is important is ¼ He was born!


The night the Angels sang! And, can mortals like us do less? Honoring His birth is too important to be overlooked. If we cannot find the correct date, what does it matter, as long as we honor His appearance? This is not about dates, it is about Jesus Christ.


The night the Light of the World came has changed every day since. No wonder the angels sang “Glory to God in the highest...”!


Let each of us ask; “What does the birth of Jesus mean to me?” Let us talk of something beyond mistletoe and toys, crowding the malls and claiming the best bargains. The birth of Jesus means, in many ways, the birth of joy. The meaning of the birth of Jesus is about life and how it’s to be lived with a joy that surpasses the gloom. Joy is not about glitter and tinsel, nor does it mean just having fun. Joy is deeper than that, because it reaches down to the roots of our pain and heals the festering wounds with divine grace.


I used to believe dealing effectively with life meant you had to be tough, and if some pain came your way, just stuff it, act tough and stay busy. Because, perhaps if you ignore pain, or distract yourself enough, it will be OK.


Now, I’m sure that view is totally incorrect. Pain is often the normal mode in many lives. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters all travel down this familiar road. No one is exempt from the knife cuts of experience. Denying this means death by addiction or dysfunction.


Sons hurt their mothers, husbands hurt their wives, wives hurt those who look to them for love. Thoughtless friends become critics, church folks hurt those who are trying to walk closer to the Lord, senseless anger blights our lives. Guilt trips abound, either from others or from our own hearts. Judgmental attitudes make friends into strangers, relatives into outcasts, and church brothers and sisters into pagans. I want to do something about all this hurt, but I’m too often the cause of it, a part of it, a creator of it.


All of this comes from a lack of joy in our lives. Now this is where God enters the world through the back door into the rural village of Bethlehem. A little baby comes to accomplish the impossible–giving joy to the joyless! And, in this Son of God, God not only shared our pain, but took it upon God’s self. More than that, God takes us upon God’s self. This is “Joy to the World” because the joyless world can find it in this Christmas Present from God.