Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pastoral Pings ~ Bonding to Joy, or Bondage to Joy

          “Joy to the World, the Lord Has Come!” the ancient Christmas carol proclaims. The newer diddy does no justice to this joyful proclamation when it suggests, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. Anyone who knows what Christmas is about would never be satisfied with a merry little Christmas when there are still God-given joyful invitations to much better good news!

          The divine text tells us that when an angel broke through the divide between the darkness of earth and the glorious light of God’s presence, it spoke to the terrified shepherds these wonderful words, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.[1] Christmas has something to do with “great joy”, which invites us to come and see how such a thing may be experienced.

          One of the problems that God’s great joy has had to battle in every generation, is that people are already in bondage to lesser forms of joy and don’t necessarily see the value in trading their counterfeits for the real thing.

          Alcoholics know what little satisfaction they get from their drinking, and yet, as miserable as their lives appear to everyone around them, they choose the Christmas cheer that comes in a bottle over the “great joy” that arrived in a stable.

          Materialists know their bondage to the transient pleasure of buying some new treasure, or receiving some new gift, and cannot believe that a Savior who came to earth as a little baby could possibly give them more than all the gifts that exchange hands during the season of his celebration.

          People-addicts know the demanding thrill that comes from spending time with friends and loved-ones, and cannot fathom the idea that there is a greater friend in the Loving-one than any collection of people could ever offer.

          Added to the problem is the way that superficial Christmas parties set the stage for Christmas revelers to feed their bondage to people, material gifts, and substances that give the feeling of “Christmas Cheer”. No matter whether people prefer “Merry Christmas”, or “Seasons’ Greetings”, they are drawn to gather together in some form of merriment that keeps them from the greater joy that comes into our world as unobtrusively as a baby lying in a manger.

          This Christmas season is another reminder that God sent his Son into the world so that we could hear “good news of a great joy”. The invitation remains: leave our bondage to the lesser experiences of temporal pleasure that come from counterfeit experiences with pseudo-joy, and receive the Lord of glory who speaks to us so that his joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory”[2] may be in us, and our own joy may be full to overflowing.[3]

          “Joy to the world, the Lord has come!”

          From my heart,


© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Luke 2:10-11
[2] I Peter 1:8
[3] “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)

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