November 27 2017
Beginning this weekend, we begin our Christmas series, “Christmas Is Real.” Christmas is joy. Christmas is love. Christmas is peace. Christmas is hope.
When Jesus was born, He flooded the world with joy, love, peace, and hope. I think it is interesting that every one of these words have somewhat lost their meaning over the two-thousand years.
The meaning for joy has been morphed into the meaning of happiness. I hear often from people that they not having a joyful life because something didn’t go their way…so in other words they are not happy. The real meaning of joy is so much different than happiness. True happiness is built on happenings. Joy is the comfort of the Holy Spirit abiding inside of a person.
What can we say about the meaning of love? It has been reduced to a feeling of affection. I love you means emotions flowing toward something or someone. The true meaning of love is not an emotion at all. It is sacrifice. The old song Roger Whittaker wrote for the musical Fiddler on the Roof, “If I Were a Rich Man”, is an exchange between a couple married for 29 years. He asked, “do you love me”? She says “do I what”? She goes on in the song of all the things she had done for him…all the sacrifices. God truly demonstrated His love toward us.
So what about peace? Peace has come to mean that there is no war. You see bumper stickers that say “world peace”. Of course I like the one that says “whirled peas”. Is there such a thing, especially in our present time, as world peace? Jesus came to give us the internal peace that passes all understanding.
Hope. I heard Erwin McMannus say that real hope is not in the things one sees, but the things one doesn’t see. He was paraphrasing Hebrews 11:1. Hope is not hope if you can see the results. Hope is always future. Hope against hope, Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
Christmas is truly the combined elements of all these. Jesus brought us access to the Father whom all good and perfect things come.
I pray that this season you will sense an abundance of all four of these elements.
We begin Sunday singing songs of joy. The choir, out of the musical “Christmas Is Real” sings “Christmas Is Real, “Sing for Joy”, and “Come to Us”. We sing “Joy to the World”, and “The First Noel”. The song “Joy” by Mercy Me will help fill us with that sense of joy during the giving of tithes.
I hope to see you Sunday when we celebrate that Christmas is joy!