More Monday Motivation from the Our Daily Bread devotional, “Celebrating Jesus.”
Jonathon shared Tim Gustafson’s “Dreaming at Christmas”
For Irving Berlin, Christmas held not joy but sadness. The composer of “White Christmas” lost his infant son on Christmas Day 1928. His wistful song, which longs for a bygone time of holiday joys, would become wildly popular during World War II, resonating with troops overseas dreaming of Christmases back home.
Dreams and grief are crucial themes of the Christmas story. In a literal dream, an angel explained the miraculous conception of Jesus to Joseph (MATTHEW 1:20). Another dream warned the Magi to avoid the murderous Herod (2:12). And an angel told Joseph in a dream to flee to Egypt with the baby Jesus (V. 13).
We welcome the dreams of Christmas. The sadness, however, intrudes like a rude guest. Rachel weeps (v. 18). For soon after that first Christmas a paranoid king would slaughter helpless children (v. 16). In Matthew’s gospel, Rachel, a matriarch of Israel, represents a nation’s inconsolable grief.
It’s a scene we yearn to see deleted from the story. Why must there be such sadness in this, the greatest of all stories?
Jesus Himself is the only satisfying answer to that question. The Baby who escaped the Bethlehem tragedy grew up to conquer all such tragedies, even death itself, by dying and rising for all of us. As another Christmas carol says of Him: The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.
Joe shared another devotional about a Christmas song, “Joy to the World,” from Poh Fang Chia
“Joy to the world…” Meifang stopped mid-sentence and forced down a sob as painful memories of her mom flooded her mind. This time last year, her mother stood right next to her, singing the same song. But now she was gone, her life tragically cut short by an accident. For Meifang, Christmas would never be the same again. It was hard to celebrate when all she had was sorrow and grief.
Perhaps, like Meifang, you’re feeling grief or sorrow this Christmas. How can you sing for joy when your heart is full of pain? Isaac Watts originally penned “Joy to the World” not as a Christmas carol but as a reminder of our future hope when Christ returns. It’s based on Psalm 98-a psalm that calls the earth to praise God for His love and faithfulness (v. 3). He came to save (v. 1), announce His victory, and reveal His righteousness (v. 2). And He’ll come again “to judge the earth” with righteousness and fairness v.9). These are great reasons for us to sing with joy.
If this Christmas is tinged with sorrow and grief, hold on to the hope of Christ. Not only does He provide comfort now but He aIso assures us of our future hope. One day all sorrow and pain will cease when Jesus comes again and wipes every tear from our eyes (REVELATION 21:4).
Congratulations to Jenn of Danville, who wins the $5 gift card to Everlasting Cup!
Thanks for listening!
– Jonathon and Joe