Which Christmas character are you most like? Are you like Buddy the Elf, played by Will Ferrell in a popular holiday comedy, whose infectious joy and boundless energy for ‘all things Christmas’ spills into the lives of others?
Or are you more like Dr. Seuss’ Grinch, a bitter, bad-tempered, hairy, avocado-green creature who tries to steal Christmas?
The fact is we may have days when we feel a bit like Buddy the Elf and when we feel a bit like the Grinch. All our lives are affected by happiness and pain. We cannot escape it. Our circumstances can send us into places where we’re just struggling to keep our heads above the water and survive.
It’s when we feel that we’re drowning in debt,…or when we feel overcome by a loved one’s depression (or health issue),…it’s in these times that we need to connect with joy. It’s when we find ourselves in unhealthy relationships, unemployed for a year or disheartened by the daily newscast, that we must open our heart and let the love of Jesus enter so that we can experience joy.
On that night so long ago, the shepherds experienced awe and joy after their angelic visitation. And scripture says that, once they found Jesus in the stable, they went back to their sheep, glorifying and praising God.
But on that same night, many of the people who were living in Bethlehem missed it. They slept right through Christ’s birth and never fully realized its significance or that it even happened.
This week, let us not miss the occasion to celebrate the coming of Jesus and remember what the angel said on that dark, starry night so long ago. “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great JOY for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
This third week in Advent, December 15 to 21, our theme is joy. Take a look at the video below with Providence’s Lindsey Post, Executive Assistant for External Relations, as she encourages us all to push past the pain and choose joy.