Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Bah Humbug or Good News of Great Joy

"Bah Humbug" is an expression used to show disgust at the Christmas season, made famous by Ebenezer Scrooge in the Charles Dickens novel 'A Christmas Carol'. Ever had that "Bah Humbug" feeling? With all the "Joy to the World", "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and all the other songs of goodwill and glad tidings that describe this season, I would be remiss to think that we are all in that perky, celebratory mood. I know there are many that can hardly wait for this season to be in the "rear-view" mirror.

I get that. I know what it is for my Daddy to pass away on December 17th and witnessing my sweet Mama unwrapping his gifts that she had placed under the tree for him! Bah Humbug. I know what it is for my Sweetheart to graduate to heaven on November 16th and have the first Christmas without him in over 44 years. Bah Humbug. I have friends whose loved one just recently passed away, others who are facing a debilitating illness and still so many others who are experiencing tremendous financial stress -- particularly because they just can't afford to spend another dime, and they're broken-hearted that their little ones just may not get that "Santa gift" that they asked for. Bah Humbug.

Christmas isn't that happy-go-lucky, jingle bells, holly jolly time of the year for everyone. But who wants to be Ebenezer Scrooge any time of the year -- especially at Christmas? Remember the angel's words to the shepherds on that first Christmas night...."Do not be afraid -- I bring you good news and great joy!" There is good news. There is great joy. That news is for ALL people -- you and me -- no matter what we may be facing.

Whether we have family surrounding us, or we are one of our beloved service men and women who are away from their family this Christmas. Whether we live in a palace or a small one room apartment, we can experience that good news and great joy. What matters most is that we remember what matters most. The Christmas story makes our own stories make sense. It offers us comfort and joy. That is the message that all of Scripture offers. It’s the message, invitation, and reality of our God – throughout time, now, and forever.

Here’s a few of those scriptures that explain it:
From Psalm 63 "My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises You with joyful lips when I think of you on my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy."

From Psalm 34:8-10: "Taste and see that the Lord is good! How blessed is the one who trusts in Him! Fear the Lord, you holy ones of His; for those who fear Him lack nothing."

From Isaiah 41:10 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand"

God-with-us. Emmanuel. Comfort and joy. May it be so. Whatever your circumstances are this year, focus on the face of God and be reminded of why we celebrate Christmas. It isn't really about all the things the world has made it to be. It is about the good news of great joy. Picture the God of the universe handing you his Son, wrapped in swaddling clothes. Hear him say, "Don't be afraid of anything….ever. I give you water that you'll drink and never thirst again. I give you peace that passes all understanding. I give you joy. I give you comfort. I give you goodness and mercy. I give you a future and a hope. I give you my Son, Jesus"