Can you resurrect that childlike, Christmas Eve spirit of anticipation? As you laid in your bed waiting on Santa to arrive, were you wide-eyed when you should have been sleeping? Or, did you close your eyes imagining what might await you under the tree the next morning? What about that moment your eyes popped open at daybreak, and you remembered it was Christmas? Did you wake the rest of your family or tiptoe to the living room for a sneak-peak before everyone else got up?
I don’t ever recall being disappointed on Christmas morning. The site of unexpected surprises sent a sudden surge of joy through me.
What better week to talk about Core Value #4 than this one!
Here, this week before Christmas, let’s take one last look at the four core values:
#1 Love God because God is love, and He first loved us.
#2 Love people because God loves all people.
#3 Do your best, and God does the rest, and finally,
#4 Have fun because God gives us joy!
These are wonderful values for children to learn and recite every week, but they’ve been life-changing values for me as well. I’m having the time of my life ever since I found the jubilant freedom – the joy if you will – allowing me opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22) I don’t know if the traits of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians are in the order they should be expressed, but I do know that realizing the overwhelming love of God inspires joy.
Perhaps joy, especially during trying times, surfaces as the most obvious indicator of our intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. Brilliant joy sparks the fuse leading to our keg of peace. Patience and kindness then explode onto the lives of others demonstrating the goodness and faithfulness learned from our God. Self-controlled lives kindled by the grace of God encourage us to show that same kind of grace to others.
While fun can be experienced in a moment, the infinite hope of a better life now and in the hereafter sustains our joy. Martin Luther King once said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but we never lose infinite hope.”
Do you have a childlike, Christmas Eve kind of hope? Do you eagerly await an even greater measure of unspeakable joy when Jesus comes back to town? Do your eyes pop open trying to imagine all the surprises He has prepared for you? Wake up your family and friends! Give them more than a peek at the joy you’ve found. Tell them all that God has waiting on them. Remind them of the joy of Christmas.
Charlie Brown forgot what Christmas was all about, but his friend Linus reminded him:
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:8-10, KJV)
God chose to give His friend John a glimpse of the joy that awaits us all:
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” (Revelation 21:3-4, NIV)
So, this Christmas, have fun because God gives us joy! And that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.