#Article (Archive)

His invitation is to all (Part 3)

Dec 23, 2009, 1:47 PM | Article By: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye

Repeat the sounding joy!

Repeat the sounding joy!

Hymns at Christmas, known as carols, should bring to mind during this season, tidings (news) of great joy. The sounds should keep echoing the good news in our ears. They tell us it is a time to be happy. That theme runs like a thread throughout the Christmas songs; no wonder people talk in terms of merry Christmas.

"And therefore be merry, set sorrow aside; Christ Jesus our Saviour, was born on this tide."

"O come all ye faithful joyful and triumphant, Come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem; Come and behold him born the king of angels: O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord."

Indeed, it is a period of great joy and it brings to mind, though at a larger and higher scale, the mood in our families when a baby is born. The birth of a Saviour, the Saviour of humankind, has a different ring to it though; it is universal in nature. Our joy is escalated. "Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, and heaven and nature sing."

I am not sure whether you are a part of that joy or just an onlooker, a bystander. If you embrace this joy fully and identify with it, it would mean you are laying a red carpet for our Saviour at His coming. That joy should be made manifest from within - from our heart of hearts; the fullness of our joy should not be hidden. It is like we have found a treasure and would not want to let go off it. 

To illustrate the joy at Christians in general, someone gave this demonstration because it is not often clear to onlookers and bystanders why there is so much joy with Christians. He said it was like eating an orange and savouring its sweetness in the presence of someone who is wondering what could be the source of your joy. It would be difficult to understand why one could be so happy about eating an orange; the answer naturally is that one has not tasted it. It is a singular and special joy. For the onlooker to experience a similar joy, s/he would have to eat of that orange as well.

In celebrating the coming of our Lord Jesus to earth - His incarnation, do not take the joy out of the event but in the same manner do not let the joy overtake the real meaning of His advent. Later during His ministry, Jesus was quoted by the apostle John as having said: "I have come that you (humanity) might have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) Christ's coming into this world was to maximise and heighten our joy. Joy does not mean drinking and making merry or having fun. The joy Christians should express at Christmas goes deeper than eating and drinking. The Messiah has come to liberate us from the bondage of sin that has so easily ensnared us and from the claws of the evil one that has bound us. It took a tiny mouse to set free a mighty lion in spite of its strength when the later was entrapped in a net by its predators. That the King has come as a child into this world does not diminish His power, importance and glory.

God's desire and intent was to humble the stature of the Saviour of the world. A king is born in a palace; but Christ, the King of kings, was born in a stable among animals - a place far removed from pomp and pageantry. There was no room for Jesus' family at the hotel, so they had to find where to squat. The glory of Christ Jesus is not in high class birth and noble parents, His glory emanates from the fact that He descended from heaven to do His Father's will and that is to save humanity. The essence of God's saving grace is not in the where and how our Lord Jesus was born but in what He had come to accomplish.

As we experience another coming of the Son of God into the world, may we open our hearts wide to receive Him. One hymn writer penned these words for the occasion: "O come to my heart Lord Jesus there is room in my heart for you." Let the meaning of Christmas be registered in our hearts, the seat of our conscience and our thinking. We need to give Him pride of place in this merry making.

We will be exchanging gifts and throwing parties to mark once again the gift God has given to humanity. Where would Jesus be in all this? Shouldn't He be the guest of honour? Unfortunately, all this would happen without a sign of His presence. How can we celebrate the birthday of someone and not invite him or let him in? Let us make sense of our Christmas this year by sticking with the one whose birthday is the cause of the celebration. Let us not leave Him out in the cold. He is saying to us: "Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they will eat with me." (Revelation 3:20)

Don't turn on the music too high you may not hear Him knocking. Rather lend an ear; you may not only hear Him knock at your door you may hear His footsteps as well. Jesus wants to save us this Christmas from everything that is hindering our spiritual growth and development by nailing us to the wall. We are worth much more than gold and He wants to purify us that we may be like pure gold. One touch of our hand is what He desires in order to lead us into the paths of righteousness for our own sake.

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." (John 3:17-18):

"Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." (Revelation 22:17)

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) May we be blessed as we celebrate His coming!