More than a party
The yearly celebration of Jesus’ birth has become a big, long-lasting party — which seems to start even before Advent. In the congregation where I preach the Word and preside at the sacraments, we had our congregational Christmas dinner on the first Saturday in December. But during this time of preparation, we are celebrating the birth of a savior, not hosting a party!
Luke the evangelist would be astonished that the festival of Christmasfest has become a bigger festival than Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter combined. As much as we want to have one big party to celebrate God becoming flesh, we must never lose sight of the fact that Jesus came to lead us through the hardest and most painful parts of life too!
Joy and peace are two of the great gifts we sing and talk about as Advent quickly gets swallowed up by the anticipation of the Christmasfest party. We hold these two wonder words with high regard and try our best to enjoy them.
I invite you to enjoy long-lasting joy, now, near the high point of your Christmas celebration. Share some Christmas joy today with someone who needs to be reminded of the joy Jesus brought to the world in his birth, his life, even in his death, and surely in his rising. Hopefully, this will get us in the holy habit of sharing that joy frequently.
Learn to know the true peace of Christmas. Begin to reflect on what Christ’s peace will mean for you and your beloved family and friends on December 26th and beyond. May we all be filled with long-lasting joy and true peace in this rich and beautiful season! My prayer for you is this:
Peace came to earth at last that chosen night when angels clove the sky with song and light
and God embodied love and sheathed his might
Who could but gasp: Immanuel! Who could but sing: Immanuel!
And who could be the same for having held the infant in their arms and later felt
the wounded hands and side, all doubts dispelled
Who could but sigh: Immanuel! Who could but shout: Immanuel!
ELW, Hymn 285, Peace Came to Earth, stanzas 1 and 3
by Darrell Norris