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The season for joy

December 29, 2008

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

The Christmas season has always held a special place in the lives of people over the many centuries. It is a time which brings to most a desire to experience real and lasting joy and happiness.

It is a time for the gathering of family and friends for holiday festivities. I can remember when, as a young child, I would meet all my cousins, aunts, and uncles, at Grandpa’s big white house on Christmas Eve. We would eat a big supper with all the Swedish trimmings and then spend the rest of the evening playing and celebrating together. It was a time of real joy and happiness for everyone.

This kind of experience is typical of the Christmas season. I’m sure many of you have shared, and will share in similar family gatherings for the holidays.

The Bible tells us of an even greater joy that can be experienced in this special season. It is a joy that was best expressed, over 2,000 years ago, by a young girl from Nazareth who was chosen by God to be the mother of His Son. Mary shares her joy with these words of praise, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. . .” (Luke 1:46-47)

After the angel had visited with Mary and shared the news that she was considered worthy of being the mother of the Messiah, Mary could not contain the joy that flooded her heart. Like many mothers-to-be, her thoughts turned to the happiness a little child would bring to her and Joseph. She looked forward to the day her son would hug her and say, “I love you.”

But Mary’s joy over the new baby was more than usual, because Jesus was to be so very special. He was the Messiah, God’s Son, for whom Mary’s people had waited many long years. Jesus, our Savior, would bring joy not only to his own mother and father, but to all the people of the world then and now.

As you gather together during this holiday season with family and friends, remember this is a season for joy. Jesus, the Son of God, has come into the world for you and me. As the angel announced to the shepherds on a hillside many years ago:

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11