Christmas – a time of joy and peace and goodwill to all – except if you happen to be out shopping anywhere. Funny how people’s attempts to love their family results in some really poor treatment of others.
Christmas time is a real study in human nature. On one hand we have this great sense of joy and peace all around us. I saw it yesterday as we had some adult Sunday school classes sponsoring Christmas celebrations for the children’s classes (one adult class adopts one children’s class for the year). The small parties were great. There was food galore and older members giving presents to kids and kids giving presents to the adults. There was this tremendous sense of merriment and fun all around the church. On the other hand, Jan and I went shopping on Saturday – yes, Saturday. It was crazy with all the crowds and long lines and making your way through a store, but I was impressed with how most people behaved.
And then we got to the grocery store…
Making our way through the frozen food section we began to hear a child fussing about the room they had in their little “car/basket”. You may have seen these, they’re at most stores these days – a basket where the back end looks like a car and the kids sit down inside. Well, one little boy felt his little brother wasn’t giving him enough room and so he continued to yell at his mother about how he had no room. Now, as parents we’ve been there. Children are the true test of sainthood sometimes. But this mother had her answer – she yelled louder. Each time the boy complained she yelled back. As we walked to the front of the store we could still hear them. Fussing and complaining and shouting while buying food for Christmas dinner – that’s the joy of the season!
Well, I guess sometimes we do okay and other times we get really self-centered and carried away. That’s just human nature, and at Christmas time we just see it played out so vividly. But, you know what? If we always got things right, if we could make perfect joy and peace happen on our own we wouldn’t need Christmas. God sent His son because we often don’t act the way God created us to act. But, God doesn’t yell back at us, God sends help. God sends His son and through him we are given God’s very Spirit within us and through that Spirit we are transformed more and more into the likeness of Jesus. As that happens joy and peace are found in all places – quiet moments, boisterous parties, and even noisy grocery stores.
I hope you find the joy of Christ bubbling up within you this year once again. May Jesus Christ be born anew in you this Christmas.