Summary: There a 3 reasons for joy during Christmas that we can remember: Family, Government and Descent.
Reasons for joy this Christmas
by Andrew Chan, Senior Pastor, PBC, Vancouver, BC
We want joy, don’t we? Look around, are we not as humans reaching, looking, for it. The Vancouver Grizzlies and their fans are looking for the joy of victory. But alas... Why there is even a dish washing detergent brand name called “Joy”. I bet the company who thought of the name is hoping you buy it as you remember how great it felt to have clean dishes after you have put pasta sauce on it. Joy the word, brings a sense of brightness, cheerfulness, happiness, contentment. Peter McMartin, Van. Sun columnist, writing in yesterday’s paper said: Where is our sun? Where is the true warmth of our existence? Here he is asking essentially where can joy be found. His answer is family: “I will eat Christmas dinner with my wife and children – who are the suns of my existence – and I will dance with my wife and friends at a party on New year’s eve. We will drink too much, and have too much fun, and that is rare enough.” Look at what MacMartin is saying here. Joy is rather elusive, it is rare. The he continues: “ I will orbit around all of them, and they, hopefully, around me. And then the new year will come, and with it, all the old habits and weaknesses. But that is then, and this is now, and Christmas … offers the hope of redemption, however temporary, and rebirth. Galileo was wrong. We are the centre of the universe. Forget the heavens: Our suns are here.” In what he says, you will note there is despair. There is little hope for permanent joy. For him redemption is Temporary, forget the heavens, our suns are here. There is really no hope in this world, relish what u find joyful now for it will be gone. There is no God, we are it all alone in the universe. If friends and family don’t orbit around us, there is really no joy.
Then, I read in January 2001 issue of Reader’s Digest that there is reason for hope to return. In an article entitled “Is the Bible True?” let me quote… “The unearthing of an inscription or artifact can shed new light or cast a shadow –on a scriptural passage. Yet in extraordinary ways, modern archaeology is affirming the historical core of both the Old and New Testaments, supporting key portions of crucial biblical stories.” Thus, to merely treat the text of Bible, Scripture as it were some fairy tale, is to do injustice. I invite you to hear again…
Let’s look in the Bible shall we as we find reasons for joy this Christmas.
Reading of John 1:1-14
Will we know Him when he comes .. are we ready for the child of
Bethlehem says the song by the choir
John begins his gospel, his version of good news, with a beautiful description. No doubt, for John the Christmas story begins right from the very beginning, not in a stable in Bethlehem. But story does a quick jump from V1-2 jump to v.14 where the word became flesh!
Implications seen clearly with help of Heb.2:6ff.
The Hebrews passage points out an even deeper mystery. God was horrified and scandalized by our spiritual genetics. The taint of sin had been passed down from our first parents to us. And yet, rather than saying, "Thank God I haven’t got that in my blood line," God says, "I am not ashamed to call them family." Not ashamed to give them my name, my reputation, my glory! This is it, the jump from the word which was from the beginning, the word who is God, is the word that is not ashamed, to include us as family and to identify with us.
Now think about that. Have any of you got a family member you would rather do without? Perhaps some still remember when Jimmy Carter was president of the USA. His brother Billy was going around guzzling beer, making rude, racist remarks, and belching in public, right in front of TV cameras and radio microphones. I suspect that there were days when Jimmy wanted to closet Billy with all of his cans of Billy beer! And yet he was family. You choose your friends, but you inherit your family. Yet here, God chose the join the human family. He became flesh, chose to let Christmas happen with the birth of Jesus.
When He joined the family of people like Mother Teresa, Francis of Assisi, he also joined the family of Jeffrey Dahmer, Paul Bernardo, and Adolph Hitler. In an interview with the father of Jeffrey Dahmer a few years ago right after he had just been indicted for murder, mutilation, and cannibalism of his victims. Two things became clear from that interview: 1) the man knew that Jeffrey was his son and 2) the man was utterly shamed that the child he raised went on to do the horrific crimes he committed. My thought is that he wouldn’t have chosen to have that man for a son!