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Joy to the World

I’ve been more than a little grouchy this week. I’ve had some kind of allergies/cold thing that’s not only stopped up my nose but I sense my ears getting fluid in them as well. Oh, and then there is the whole matter of Christmas and the end of the year – worrying about travel, family, church (including making budget!). Grumpy, grumpy, grumpy.

A little while ago I saw one of my colleagues had written “Joy to the world!” as his Facebook status. I almost typed in, “What’s so joyful about it?” In my Grinch-like heart, all I can think about is all of the snow about to be dumped on us and what that means not only for our Christmas Eve service tonight, but also our travel plans to see my family tomorrow.

So, why should I be joyful?

What comes after “Joy to the world!” in that Christmas hymn? Oh, right. “The Lord is come! Let earth receive her King”.

The sad part is, this isn’t the first Christmas I’ve been tempted to forget that Christmas is about the earth receiving her King. I found something I wrote on Christmas Eve 2005 that was a helpful reminder today:

On the surface, this was the worst Christmas Eve of all time. My wife vomited three times. My daughter, well, I don’t know what is wrong with her. She’s crying and obviously in pain. Sleep has not come for her for any great period in over 24 hours. No family around to help and we’re looking at a three and a half hour drive to my mother’s tomorrow. Arguing over petty things when I know better than to provoke a sick person. Not exactly our finest hour. We might as well forget about Christmas Eve and maybe even Christmas.

A little melodramatic, I know, but sometimes when life gets a little messy, the last thing I want to do is celebrate the birth of Christ. But, something inside tells me I am wrong. What is the incarnation if it isn’t God entering into the vomit, diahrrea, sickness, and death of humanity? The incarnation isn’t sterile, it’s not above the filth of life. To think otherwise is to fall into the trap of docetism. No, God entered into human flesh, born bloody and screaming, pooped and wet his clothes. He might have even got sick and puked.

I’d laugh if I hadn’t just realized how short of a distance I’ve covered in four years.

I’m reminded both by Christmas past and Christmas present that Jesus didn’t come to meet any of my expectations. He didn’t show up to be Buddy Jesus who should don a Santa suit and meet my holiday expectations. He came to save the world and as I sit at my desk, waiting for a winter storm to ruin those holiday expectations, I’m thankful that Jesus ignores what we think we want in order to be exactly what we need – a Savior.

Joy to the world, indeed.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. jeff
    December 24, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Grace abounds, brother. Grace abounds.

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