Christmas in October
Luke 2:10 . . . Good tidings of great Joy
There is a popular song at Christmas time that states “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”
Starting about 2 weeks ago (maybe sooner in some places) the Christmas merchandise was moving to the floor at retail outlets. Columbus Day is still a few days away, Thanksgiving a month and a half, Christmas a solid 3 months, but it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
We all know that the early push for Christmas is because it is the make or break holiday for the American retailer. Personal spending spikes during the Christmas season. Any self-respecting merchant needs to capitalize on the season, making sure consumer spending dollars are funneled into their accounts receivable.
When the angels came to the shepherds on the night Jesus the Christ was born they had to calm their fears. After saying to them “fear not!” they explained the reason their fear should be swept away. They were there to let the shepherds know that they were announcing Good tidings (literally good news or gospel), that was full of great joy. And not only that, it was for the shepherds and everyone else – every nation and peoples on the earth.
We are all well acquainted with the story. We understand that the joy was enshrined in a savior. The savior which was Christ the Lord. The promised Messiah had arrived.
Humans are pretty good at manufacturing joy. Manufactured joy is part and parcel of what retailers are counting on. The joy of presents. The joy of finding the right gift for somebody. The joy (albeit fleeting) of that new material thing to play with, use, treasure, and ultimately, watch wear out.
Fleeting joy is not something experienced only at Christmas time. On the contrary, we can witness it every day. The new car gets a scratch, it’s not so new anymore. A loved one does something that displeases us, the happiness in that relationship waivers a bit. The new job with the new salary, is exciting, but then the reality sets in, you will have to put in 60 hours a week to even keep your head above the flood waters called a work load. You were feeling really heathy, but a recent blood test reveals a serious ailment in your body.
Joy, it can be fleeting. However, we must remember it not only is beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our stores, in terms of the message of the angels, it is Christmas every day. Yes, that same joy announced to those lowly shepherds is the same gospel message to every human being: True Joy came down, lived, died, and rose again to solidify joy in the hearts and souls of people.
This joy, is the greatest of all. It is the joy of knowing that no matter what you have done, no matter where you have been, no matter where you are right now in terms of your own soul, you can experience the joy of knowing your sins are forgiven, you can be sure you are on your way to a promised place called heaven. By putting your complete trust in what Jesus did for you in dying on the cross to pay for your sins, and rising again from the dead, you are ensuring eternal life with Him. Moreover, you know have a genuine relationship with your creator. A constant friend that sticks closer than a brother.
Christ follower, is it beginning to look a lot like Christmas in your life and walk with the Lord? That is to say, is this message of “Great Joy!” the one you are most anxious to share with another? As one pastor put it. “We are on earth to share the gospel, not for our own comfort, convenience, self-satisfaction, and peace.” That is because, like the angels, we have a singular focus: Inform people of glad tidings of great joy. So, let’s ensure it is not only beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but indeed, the message is 24/7 and 365.