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God shares His joy at Christmas

December 3, 2007

Rev. Keith E. Carlson, Evangelical Covenant Church, Dassel

The Advent/Christmas season is a time of many emotions and expressions.

So often, we are caught up in the excitement of buying gifts, decorating, and making plans that our emotions are strained from one extreme to the other. At one time, we can feel the frustration of shopping and preparation, and in another moment, enter into the joy of the season.

A number of years ago, when I lived in Chicago attending North Park Seminary, a friend, Dan, and I planned a trip for the Christmas break to our homes in Kansas. We were excited to be going home and were caught up in the joy of seeing friends and family again.

The day came to make the journey, and as we started to leave the city, we found ourselves caught up in the snarling traffic of the six-lane expressways. It seemed to take hours to work our way through the traffic jams with cars blaring their horns and brakes screeching. It seemed everyone in Chicago had decided to leave the city for the holidays at the same time Dan and I had.

However, about 13 hours later, at 11 p.m., we pulled into the driveway of Dan’s home in the rolling hills of Kansas. Immediately, as we opened the car door, we noticed something very different, something very special.

The serenity, the peace, the quietness was music to our ears. As we stepped out of the car, we heard the beauty of quietness. No longer did the rumble of the big city reach our ears.

The peacefulness of God’s creation and a feeling of awe and joy welled up within my heart as I, in that brief moment, felt the love and presence of our Creator.

God certainly has shown His love to us through the world He has created, but His joy has found even greater expression through the presence of His own Son entering into our world.

God desired an intimate and special relationship with us in which He could show His unending love for all people. His desire was made known to the shepherds in the fields outside Bethlehem by an angel, who said to them, “Be not afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the City of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” ((Luke 2:10-11)

Christ the Lord! He is the expression of God’s joy. Through Christ, the love, the peace, the grace, and the joy of God has been shared in a very special way with all people.

As you enter into the Advent season and prepare for the celebration of Christmas, I encourage you to remember often that God’s reason for this season is the desire to share His joy with you.