Joy Comes In Sips, Not Gulps

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, wanted to tell me that there was no joy when it came to his bank account. He withdrew money for his children, and grandchildren because they like to have cash as their Christmas gifts. Ed says that they hardly deserve socks or a tee-shirt, but they get the joy of his money. The Christmas season frustrates Ed. He scoffs at the religious meaning of Christmas, and he quit believing in Santa when he was about five.

As long, as I have known Ed, he has had his own Christmas carols, not religious. His favorite carol celebrates Jeremiah the bullfrog his mighty good friend. Ed sings with a spiritual fever, “Joy to the world, all the boys and girls, joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea, joy to you and me.” Ed objects to the traditional carol, ‘Joy to the World,’ Ed questions if the Savior has come and reigns, he (Ed) cannot find the wonders of Christ’s love. He contends that if Jesus reigns there should be nothing but love, laughter, joy, hope, kindness, and happiness in this world. I said to Ed that is what Jesus desires for us, but it won’t come entirely until heaven. 

I told Ed the joy of God is not a glass of water you can gulp down to find satisfaction. God’s joy is wide and deep like a huge freshwater lake that can only be sipped because it is bottomless. Often, we want everything supersized, but God often works in what we would ignore or disregard as regular or small.

God did not set out to impress the world with the birth of his Son among us on earth. The baby Jesus was delivered in a stable. Jesus had no hospital crib for his head. There was no clamoring because the baby Jesus was of Jewish royalty like a baby of Prince William and The Duchess of Cambridge of his day. Jesus was a baby born to a carpenter, and a woman pledged to be married to him.

Shepherds were invited to witness the newborn baby Jesus lying in a manger. With God, everyone counts not just the powerful, the wealthy, and the famous. God knows all people whether poor or rich, ordinary or powerful, to be sinners needing forgiveness in his sight. A forgiveness they cannot earn for themselves, for they cannot be perfect. All people are a mixture of both goodness and meanness. Jesus as both man and God was willing to be perfect for us, and die to endure the punishment of our sins.

As both God and man, people saw Jesus’ humanness easily, but his divine nature was not something Jesus displayed except to glorify God or for the benefit others. After Jesus’ resurrection, he appeared only briefly to his disciples because the joy that he was and is alive from the dead is limitless. His place was and is in heaven at the right hand of God until he returns to earth once again. The joy Jesus gives to the world is limitless forgiveness for our real meanness and limited goodness. God rules on earth by faith offering forgiveness and joy to anyone who will keep sipping on its endless, fineness until heaven.

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