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Christmas – the Jolly and the Joy
The Season to be Jolly
“It’s sure beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Isn’t it Dear?” the wife said to her husband as they turned into the Mall parking lot. “It seems like it gets earlier every year, doesn’t it?”
“It sure does Sweetheart,” the husband responded. “It’s the season to be jolly, after all, right?” the husband then asked, turning to his wife with twinkle in his eye. “And so they might as well deck the halls, the stores, the streets – everything, anything, with red and green, holly and berries…”
“And they dare not forget the mistletoe,” the wife said with a chuckle.
Returning the chuckle, the husband continued, “And they need to deck them all while it’s early in preparation for the arrival of Santa Claus, you know, the giver of gifts, the jolly ol’ elf; that ageless man who wears garments of red and white, wears a long beard, and smokes a long stemmed pipe.”
“Yeah, and He’s full of magic” the wife chimed in, “He can be in many places at one time. We can’t escape his presence. Why, he’s the culmination, the high point, the final result…”
“Of Christmas,” the two concluded in unison, as the husband pulled into a parking space.
“And what about the children?” a voice chimed in from the back seat.
The husband and wife turned toward each other smiling and then to their little girl in the back.
“You must be good, right Katie?” the mother said.
“Yeah,” Katie answered mimicking, “because Santa Claus is coming to town. And he knows me: when I’m bad and when I’m good, and even when I’m asleep or awake…”
“And if you do the things you should,” the mother concluded.
“And the shoppers also,” the husband said whispering just for his wife and their child to hear, they having entered the Mall.
“And so the rush is on, Dear, shoppers crowding the malls, rushing up and down the streets as well, rushing to buy that priceless gift for someone special, that perhaps just may be a once-a-year friend. And too, as goes the parties through the season, drinking a cup of Christmas cheer that all may be ever jolly the entire year. Now, is that Christmas, really, for the ‘jolly’ of it all?”
The Season to be Joyful
Home and finishing their evening meal, the husband quiet for a moment then shares, “You know Dear I think I have my message for the Sunday coming nearer to Christmas.”
“Yeah?” the wife asks.
“Christmas – not the jolly of it all, but the joy of it all. We deck the halls, the alleys, the streets, sure, but not so much for the outward appearance, but more so as an expression of our inward appearance, with songs of praise and hearts of worship, and now is the time to deck them, that we may be ever joyful the entire year.
“It’s all in preparation for the arrival of the Christ (Messiah). He’s the true giver of gifts, the Savior and Lord, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of peace, Lord of lords, King of kings, and Mighty God; He’s all-powerful, all knowing, everywhere present, the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is present at a gathering of one, two, or three, or more, gathered together acknowledging His presence, that He is in their midst – right there among them.
“Ah, and the children," the husband eyes his little girl sitting there at the table finishing a glass of milk. “Yes, and grown-ups too, it’s not within us to be good. We must turn from our own way, ask Him in, become His child and He will enable us to do what we should. He knows our heart, our mind, and our will – our total being.
“And to us shoppers, rushing and crowding about for that gift, let us give of ourselves in service for Him (for He gave Himself), and enjoy our friends the whole year through, and eternity too. And may we not be self-centered, but self-giving for our friends and God’s glory. Now, that’s Christmas, really, for the joy of it all.
The Reason for the Joy
The preacher concluded his sharing before the church congregation that Sunday nearer Christmas, “As we read in the Bible, from long ago it all began. Shepherds listened to the herald angels singing; good news of great joy for all the people, they're bringing! 'A Savior has been given to you – Christ, the Lord!' Then, once seeing Him, the shepherds return to their fields and spread the word about Him; all are amazed when they hear.
"And the Magi (royal astrologers) came from far across the desert sand following the star they had seen in the East. They arrived in Jerusalem, and inquired of the one who was born king of the Jews. To Bethlehem their journey concluded, the star looming brightly over the house where the Child was, with Mary His mother. Overjoyed when finally seeing Him, they bowed down and worshiped Him and presented their treasures – their gifts to Him – of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
"Yet, He had been born to die, from the manger to the cross, paying the price in full for the sins of all – from the poor as the shepherds to the wealthy, as the Magi.
"Although buried in a borrowed grave, He didn’t stay there. On the third day, as the Scriptures promised, the stone rolled away and up from the grave He arose, and lives forever!"
In closing, the preacher said, "Christ Jesus – the most precious of the gifts of Christmas, and the true reason for our joy."