Joy to the World

Most everywhere we look there are signs of Christmas – store displays, busy shoppers, decorated houses, Santa Clause and reindeer. How many of these things actually point to the meaning of Christmas. Do we get so caught up in the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas that we fail to embrace the significance of the season? In all the preparation, do we find joy?

The call of Christmas, no matter how secular it may become, recognize the spiritual part of us; that nebulous element within that make the material part of life meaningful – or not.

Christmas is real, even from another dimension. The Christmas story points to amazing happenings in mysterious ways; something we search for in knowing and unknowing ways. Shepherds going about their regular job of guarding their sheep were frightened by a mysterious light and angels announcing the strangest news. (Luke 2:8-18)

The angels proclaimed that the Divine had entered into the earthly realm incarnated in a baby. They declared this seemingly isolated event brought great joy to the whole entire world.

Maybe we really are all connected.

The shepherds and the Magi (and us) were instructed to find the Christ child. They were not coached how to receive this tiny King; they responded as like calls to like.

The simple meaning of Christmas is reviewed and rehearsed yearly no matter how far afield the error of the age or mankind’s current understanding. Christmas embodies the soul’s longing for home and family; a place to belong no matter how far the travel or how estranged the relationship.

Christmas draws us to experience joy through the spiritual; to find God through the Christ child. We assign meaning to events and the meaning that we assign transforms our lives. Could it be that this world’s happiness/unhappiness is in harmony/disharmony with each individual’s joy?

Joy finds a life-lesson in everything whether painful or pleasant. Joy is more in the journey than in the destination. Joy is the deep down feeling of living well. Joy rises from the simple pleasures of life – having a clear conscious, living within your means, being productive, giving out and helping others.

Perhaps the exact birthday of Jesus was not recorded for posterity because the heavenly intent is for us mortals to embrace the joyous spirit of Christmas and take it into each and every day of our lives and pass it on to others.

Share your insights. mona@solutionprinciples.com


Waiting for Christmas

December – the ending of the old year and awaiting the new-year; anticipating 2013 to be filled with new dreams, new goals and new hopes. Even while we celebrate newness, a new year means another birthday. We grow older but not necessarily wiser. We grow physically but not necessarily spiritually.

In the Christian tradition, December is the season of Advent. A time of waiting and a time of preparing ourselves to celebrate, not just the event of Christmas, but the revelation of God’s amazing love given to mankind in the simplicity of a babe in the manger.

“Let every heart prepare him room…” Isaac Watts, Joy to the World

Christmas makes innkeepers of all of us by asking us to make room for the King of kings.

In addition to “Joy to the World”, Isaac Watts (1674-1748) is credited with having written 750 hymns, scores that continue to be sung today and have been translated into many languages. The message of his lyrics is deep and mystical. It has been said of his work that “many know not the meaning of the words they sing.”

Advent is a time to consider the wisdom of the ages handled down in tradition and celebration. To see how the story of hope and joy and peace is played out in our holidays (holy days). It is a time to use outward preparation as a springboard to reflect on internal meaning and significance.

Listen to the words of our songs and the melody of our hearts for continuity.

It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled ‘till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.
“What if Christmas” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store?
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”
Dr. Seuss, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

Let us today make room for the true meaning of Christmas, by welcoming the Christ-child into our lives and our homes.

I took me awhile to warm to the idea of getting spiritually ready for Christmas. I hesitate to admit that I thought I was spiritually ready. Getting ready started the year I heeded the conviction to remove all secular reminders from my decorations, cards and speech. I gladly admit now that each season is a time to further ponder that Christmas “means a little bit more”.

Although there may still be much to do – cleaning, baking, decorating, gifting, celebrating – ‘Yes’ as a matter of fact I am ready for Christmas. At lease spiritually, which is, after all, what the season is about.

Let me hear from you. mona@solutionprinciples.com


The Mystery of Christmas

The Christmas holiday celebrates yet another difficult-to-understand-concept of God’s working in human affairs. Famed newscaster Paul Harvey told a story of the incarnate Christ that is worthy of reflection.

A man did not believe in all the hum-bug of Christmas. He reasoned that if God was so powerful why visit planet earth in human form at all, much less as a weak baby.

One bitter cold Christmas Eve the man’s family went to a local church to worship. The man sat home in front of his warm fireplace as the lights from their Christmas tree shown through the plate glass window. He was startled by a crashing sound against the window.

Going outside, he found a little bird dead in the snow. Apparently the bird was attempting to fly into the warm room and met his fate against the cold glass. The man saw other birds shivering in the nearby trees and got an idea.

He opened the garage door so the bird could fly inside and be out of the gusty wind. The man waited. The birds did not come inside. He beckoned to the birds that it was safe. The birds still did not come in. He sprinkled bird food leading from outside into the safe garage. Still, the birds did not come inside.

The man thought, “If somehow I could just become a bird for a few minutes, I would fly among them, chirp their language and then show them that the garage is a safe haven.”

As the man was thinking these thoughts, the Christmas bells chimed to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus. He fell to his knees. “Oh God, now I understand. You spoke from heaven and the people thought it was thunder. You sent prophets and they did not heed. You choose to become man to show the way.”

As a human being, what capabilities did the man have? If he could have become a bird, what limitations would he have? Human knowledge may have been retained, but as a bird the range of abilities were severely constrained.

When things are hard to understand, human nature comes up with something even more difficult to comprehend – a fat man in a red suit visiting every home in the world in one enchanted evening. May you embrace the life-changing love and mystery of Christmas.

Please share your thoughs. I love hearing your insights.

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