“…I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10,11
Good News! Of great joy! A Savior has been born! He is Christ the Lord! With staccato brevity, the angel announced this message which has been rightfully referred to as the greatest story ever told! God sent His one and only Son, born of a woman, to stand in the place of condemned sinners in order to redeem them. There is no greater gift that anyone could ever receive than the gift of salvation, freely provided by the Savior to all who receive Him by faith. And surely that means,‘tis the season to be…
HAPPY – NOT JOLLY!
It might appear that there is very little difference between those two words, happy and jolly, and yet there is reason to say that the one describes the Christian better than the other. To be “jolly,” according to the dictionary, is to be full of high spirits of good humor; or when it issued, as a verb, it means to make a person feel good or agreeable by flattering or joking. On the other hand, the word “happy” means favored by circumstances, or causing a feeling of great contentment or joy. It is actually very close to the meaning of the word “blessed” as used in the Bible.
For you and me to stay on the level of “jolly” during the Christmas season (or anytime) is to miss the import and significance of the event we celebrate! The coming of our Savior into human flesh should not make us jolly, but “happy” in the deepest sense of that word. We are “happy” in the sense of “blessed,” because Jesus took on our likeness in order to stand in our place, not only to bear the burden of our guilt, but to give us the gift of eternal life!
HOLY – NOT HOLLOW!
The word “hollow” is quite self-explanatory. It suggests something empty, worthless or insincere; not real and even meaningless! And isn’t that what our Christmas would turn out to be were our celebration only “jolly”? If the meaning of Christmas goes no deeper than the externals that have come to be attached to it, then it is hollow indeed! Oh yes, there may be fun and laughter and good times, but when it is over, there is nothing left. Without the Christ in the heart and at the heart of it, it is only a holiday, an excuse for celebration.
“Holy” means “consecrated” or “sacred,” or even “set apart” for special use. And yes, this is the season to be holy, to consecrate or reconsecrate ourselves to God in response to the great gift of His love to us! To be sure, we celebrate Christmas, but let it be evident by the manner of our celebration that we know its true meaning, so that its effects last not just for a season, but for a life-time.
HELPFUL – NOT HELPLESS!
A “helpless” person is one who is without power to help himself, one who is weak or feeble. Thinking about that in the spiritual sense, surely the Christian is not weak or feeble if he or she has been grafted into Christ by faith! Fact is, the Bible tells us that we are able to do all things through this One who strengthens us. It is God’s will to use us as instruments in His hand to make the message of Jesus known to the world. Paul describes us as being “more than conquerors” through Him that loved us! So it is surely not the season to be or to feel “helpless,” but…
Helpful! That may be applied in a number of ways, but among them is this—Christmas is a time to seize the opportunity to tell others of the Christ! It is a time when the church and her members ought to give witness to the great love of God so clearly shown in the giving of His Son to save sinners! This is the season when the world is lit by thousands of lights! What a wonderful opportunity for us to tell the world, including our next door neighbor and the neighbor with whom we work, about the real Light—the Lord Jesus Christ!
May each and every one of you experience the joy and blessedness of the season. May Christmas truly be for you a time to be happy, holy and helpful! The old saying is worth repeating—Jesus is the reason for the season! No wonder this is such GOOD NEWS of GREAT JOY!
Rev. Vanden Einde is the pastor of the Borculo Christian Reformed Church, Borculo, Ml.