Joy is an emotion and men do not typically like to show emotions. How is a dad to celebrate great joy around Christmas? One example is King David’s celebration when the ark of God was brought to the City of David. In 2Samuel 6:14, it says, “Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might.” King David was elated, and celebrated great joy in getting the ark of God in its rightful place.
Should not the birth of Christ spark such elation, great joy as we bring in the Christmas season? In this third week of Advent, the candle lit rekindles the great 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: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!’” (Luke 2:13-14). Great joy filled the shepherds and they were off to Bethlehem to see what had happened, what the angel of the Lord had made known to them.
Tips to bring great joy to your home:
- 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! Great joy is not what I am experiencing. Forgive me. Help me focus on the Reason for the season. I need to embrace fully the miracle of the Christ-child’s birth and be more intentional in reflecting the great joy around CHRISTmas that magnifies You in my family. Amen.
A faithful father reflects the great joy around CHRISTmas that magnifies the Lord.