Joy is an emotion and men do not typically like to show emotions. How is a dad supposed to lead the way to Christmas in joy? One example is King David’s leadership when the ark of God was brought to the City of David. In 2 Samuel 6:14, it says, “Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might.” King David was elated, and led the way in joy to get the ark of God in its rightful place. Should not the birth of Christ spark such elation, a joyful response as we bring in the Christmas season?
In this third week of Advent, the candle lit rekindles the JOY the shepherds experienced when they heard the angels sing on high. Like David, what may have started out as a routine day where they were happy tending their sheep, their world was rocked with the news the angel would proclaim.
Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” – Luke 2:9-11. Minding the business of tending their sheep, the shepherds were happy, content in doing the work before them. And in a moment, everything changed. “Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: ‘Gory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!’”(Luke 2:13-14). Joy filled the shepherds and they were off to Bethlehem to see what had happened, what the Lord had made known to them.
Tips to lead the way in joy:
- Lead a family discussion around the difference between being happy with gifts versus joyful for the Gift;
- Read Luke 2:8-20 as a family - discuss the “good news of great joy” the angel of the Lord gave the shepherds and why they left their sheep to go to Bethlehem;
- Discuss the miracle of the Christ-child’s birth and the way it rocked the world, even the calendar – we went from 1 B.C.(Before Christ) to 1 A.D.(Anno Domini, or “in the year of the Lord);
- Enjoy the tree, lights and gifts in context of the greater CHRISTmas story.
Prayer guide: Father, thank You for Your plan of redemption – starting with the Christ born of the virgin. And here I am caught up with getting a tree, decorating it and the yard with lights and buying gifts. I have allowed the Christmas story to be dumbed down to things I do and stuff I buy! Joy is not the emotion I am experiencing. Forgive me. Help me focus on the Reason for the season, embrace fully the joy of the Christ-child’s birth and be more intentional in leading the way to CHRISTmas with joy that magnifies You in my family. Amen.
A faithful father leads the way to CHRISTmas with joy that magnifies the Lord.