Joy is probably not the first word that comes to mind with 2020. How is a dad supposed to lead the way in joy to Christmas this year? One example is King David’s leadership when the ark of God was brought to the City of David. “Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might.” (2Samuel 6:14) King David was elated, and led the way in joy to get the ark of God in its rightful place. Nothing going on in the kingdom was going to impede the joy associated with the arrival of the ark.
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 when they were doing their work of tending the sheep, their world was rocked with a new perspective - 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, joy was probably not the emotion the shepherds were experiencing. And in a moment, everything changed. “Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: ‘Glory 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 the Lord had made known to them.
Tips to keep joy in perspective:
- Lead a family discussion around the difference between being happy with gifts and being 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 the joy granted by Your grace – starting with the Christ born of the virgin. I confess I have let the frustrations around this year along with the usual issues of getting a tree, decorating it and the yard with lights and buying gifts overshadow the Christmas story. Joy is not the emotion I am experiencing. Forgive me. Help me keep the proper perspective 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 keeps a perspective on joy that magnifies the Lord in family.