Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks...This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the JOY of the Lord is your Strength. Nehemiah 8:10
The Christmas spirit seeped in early this year. Maybe it was watching Disney World transform into a Christmas wonderland over night on our Thanksgiving vacation or maybe my heart was so tired of grieving that it craved joy like never before.
Either way, I was humming Christmas carols long before Black Friday and it took all the discipline I could muster to keep the lids on our Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving. But at daybreak on Black Friday, instead of hitting the malls, I spun into a decorating frenzy.
First up were the lights: electric candles in the windows, colored bulbs strung 'round the front bushes, lighted garland on the piano, the mantle, and glowing lights beamed through every window of our nostalgic Christmas village. All this to announce, "CHRISTMAS IS HERE! REJOICE for the LIGHT of Heaven has come!"
And all this light? It pierces the darkness and adds JOY to our little corner of the world. When you live in the Light it drives away the darkness and the joy it brings is contagious. Our neighbor told us our lights brightened his heart so much that he wanted to spread the light, too. So, he strung his own lights "to add joy to the hearts" of those who pass by.
Our first snow fall created the perfect backdrop to reflect the light and created the perfect excuse to stay inside and bake sweet treats. The scents of sugar and chocolate, molasses and peppermint permeated our house all day long. And best of all? Sharing the first fruits of our labor at Sunday dinner.
Some might say I've given in to the commercialism or I'm missing the true meaning of Christmas. To that I say, "Bah humbug!" It's time to claim the hope that God gave us through the birth of his son, Jesus, and live in the joy of God's promise fulfilled and yet to come. Jesus is the Light of the world - the Savior of mankind - who drove out darkness, healed the sick, laid down his life for us that we might have eternal life and be called children of God. That, my friends, is worth celebrating!
Grief stops today, for today is sacred to our Lord. We celebrate the birth of his son, Jesus. So, "go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks...for the JOY of the Lord is our STRENGTH!"