Great Joy
Faith

Great Joy

Rumor has it Monday is Christmas.

Like what?

Normally, I’m Mrs. Christmas. I love the season. The carols, the cards, the baking, cinnamon spice and everything nice. Garland, Christmas trees with red ribbons. Lights wrapped around the entire house. Oh, how I love the quietness and the stillness on Christmas Eve. Candles in the window, singing songs with my church family, gingerbread and tea waiting for me when I get home. Christmas has always been special to me.

But this year, I’m just…..here.

I’m not sad or depressed or anything like that. I just don’t have the same jolly energy in my belly that I usually do around this time of year. I very much believe in magic. Magic in the everyday ordinary. Magic in a thunder-storm. Magic at Christmas. A fellow Instagram friend is feeling the same as I, and she said that maybe we just grow out of it. I refuse to believe her, because I haven’t grown out of anything….well except maybe my jeans from childhood.

But this year, something is different. I’m moving slow this year. Looking around, breathing it all in. I’m reflecting on what has been, and dreaming about what could be. I’m slowly reading the Christmas story in Luke chapter 2. Moving through the verses not in one sitting, but in several. Slowly letting the words pour into my soul. I always read the King James version at Christmas, mainly because it all sounds so fancy, and wonderful. This year I’m really trying to soak up every word of hope and joy and peace.

“Fear not, for, behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be for all people”

I couldn’t imagine being one of those shepherds. They are really speaking to me this year. Perhaps, because I always smell like barnyard, much like they must have. Perhaps because they were lowly, poor – nothing but a shepherd, much like I am. I look around at my coworkers, my church family, my friends, my family and I am nothing more than a poor goat farmer. And every once and awhile I can see it – that is how they think of me. I’m no one special. I do nothing of great importance, I don’t wear fancy clothes, drive a nice vehicle, or have anything of any value. I wake early, I work hard, I sleep. I tend to my animals. I can relate in a sense to those shepherds. And yet, they were the first to know. The first to be told about the miraculous birth. The first to know Jesus was born. The first to hear about great joy. Not because they were special or important or had anything of value to offer. Because, they were the lowest, and also the most willing to receive this precious gift. They didn’t even hesitate when the angels had left, they got to their feet and scrambled to Bethlehem.

And they went away praising God, and telling others what they had seen.

Of anyone in the entire Christmas story, the shepherds were the most excited. The most willing to share the news. The ones who had nothing, but had everything all at the same time.

I want to be more like them.

So perhaps I am celebrating Christmas this year. But on a different level than usual. I still believe in the magic, but it’s going a little deeper this year.

My spirit is tired. I have nothing of value. I’m not financially well off. I smell like goats the majority of the time. But I have Jesus, and His presence is all I want this year.  My heart is warmed because I have the glad tidings of great joy for all people. He is the perfect gift at this Christmas time. Oh what a joy it is to be forgiven of sin. To not be condemned.

Merry Christmas to your family from ours.

May your spirit be revived. May you relish the quietness, and rejoice in the fact that the Son of God stepped down out of Heaven’s glories to be born in a stable. May Christmas this year be more about the “great joy that shall be for all people”, and less about the presents that Santa leaves.

And amen.

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