Joy to the World may be easy to sing but how is one to be joy-filled with all the end-of-year busy-ness? What does it even mean to be joy-filled? 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 put all the busy-ness of being king in its proper perspective, and reflected how joy-filled he was with getting the ark of God in its rightful place.
Should not the birth of Christ spark such elation, to be joy-filled as CHRISTmas approaches? In this third week of Advent, the candle lit rekindles the JOY the shepherds were filled with when they heard the angels sing on high. What may have started out as a routine day where they were happy tending their sheep, their world was suddenly 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. The charge to dads is to reflect being as joy-filled as the shepherds were that first CHRISTmas morn and lead the family in a wonderful celebration of the Christ-child's birth.
Tips to Be Joy-Filled this CHRISTmas:
- Lead a family discussion around the difference of being happy with gifts and being joy-filled with 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;
- 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 but keep the focus on the greater CHRISTmas story.
Prayer guide: Father, thank You for Your plan of redemption – starting with the Christ being 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 exactly what I am experiencing. Forgive me. I understand joy is a decision more than a feeling. I will embrace fully the miracle of the Christ-child’s birth and the grace You extended me through Your Son. Help me reflect how joy-filled I am with You in family and my circles of influence! I want to glorify You to a new level this CHRISTmas. That is the dad You call me to be, and that’s the dad my kids need to see. Amen.
A faithful father reflects being joy-filled with the Gift at CHRISTmas.