Friday, December 9, 2011

You Can't Find the Joy of Christmas at the Mall

This Sunday marks the beginning of the third week of Advent which means we'll be lighting the lone pink candle on our Advent wreath. The three purple candles urge us to develop a spirit of repentance during this time before Christmas as we recognize that Jesus came to die on a cross because of our sins. The pink candle, however, represents the joy we have as a result of Christ's forgiveness. And so our theme during this third week of Advent is joy!

Christmas is supposed to be a joyful time of year. And for many, it is. But we also know that for many, Christmas is one of the hardest seasons of the year to endure. Instead of being uplifted by all the merriness, people are plunged into the depths of depression because they somehow or someway feel left out of the celebrations. What an ironic tragedy! What a misunderstanding of Christmas! It was for the hopeless and the helpless that the very first Christmas took place. The joy of Christmas is not having parties or family reunions, but the eternity changing announcement of the angels, "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."

The joy of Christmas isn't in our circumstances but in God's reaction to our circumstances. The joy people look for in gift-giving and celebrations is more of an emotional happiness. The rock solid joy of Christmas isn't something you can get at the mall. It isn't even something you can get from being with other people. The joy of Christmas comes directly as a gift from God. And the only way a person can receive it is by experiencing a sense of destitution before the God who made us. Only then can we appreciate what God accomplished through Christmas. And that is the door to a joy that does not depend on what is happening in our lives. For that joy is based on another incredible angelic announcement, "He is not here, he has risen!"

Hawaii Lutheran Church (WELS)

My photo
Honolulu, HI
Community Lutheran Church holds protestant chapel services in Honolulu, Hawaii near Pearl Harbor, HI. We are next to the USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hickam Air Force Base, and Fort Shafter Hawaii. Look for us directly behind the Salt Lake, Hawaii, Target.