Real Joy


The Robin in this snow photo from earlier this year reminds me to rise above the din of consumerism and enjoy the heavenly heights as peaceful as a snow-muffled day. That’s joy to me! The third Sunday of Advent is traditionally called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is an Old English word for “joy” that comes from the Latin, gaudium, which also means, “joy.” Our focus this week, therefore, is upon the joy that Christ’s coming brings. The essence of Christmas is joy!
Wow! What a revelation! Here I am with Christmas about to kill me, and it’s about joy? My trip to the mall just about did me in. I found out the truth about Santa. He comes to us under many names: Kris Kringle, Saint Nicholas, and MasterCard.
The Jackson family went to the mall to shop for Christmas presents for one another. Before they all split up to shop on their own, the father said, “We’ll meet at the car at 6 o’clock, so we need to synchronize our watches.” As they adjusted their watches, mother nudged father, then stretched out her hand and said, “While we’re at it, let’s synchronize our wallets, too!
Christmas joy is doled out in monetary amounts by well-meaning people, but where is the joy? Payments and bills are inevitable, and what’s to show for all the expense of time or energy?
You can’t fake the wonder of a child’s face at hearing and understanding the message of Christmas for the first time. The joy of Christmas can’t be bought and sold, it’s a climate of the heart.
Some time ago I read one of those handyman columns in the newspaper. It went: “Dear sir, Where can I buy aluminum Christmas-tree needles to spread on the carpet under my aluminum Christmas tree? I want it to look natural, as if they’d fallen off the tree in the old fashioned way.” Of course it was signed, “Sentimental.”
The answer was better than the question: “Dear Sentimental: They aren’t available right now, but a satisfactory substitute is to buy a few boughs of natural evergreen, allow the needles to dry and fall off, and then spray paint them with aluminum paint. They look just like the real thing!”
I want real joy, not store-bought spirits and fake needles. There is no satisfactory substitute for real Christmas joy. Maybe that’s why we keep being suckered into malls every year when real joy is found at the altar? Read Isaiah 55:1-3 and compare it with Matthew 11:28-30! Here is the source of true joy!

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