A Fun Christmas Memory
“In the same region, there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock at night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood near them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And so the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army of angels praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased.’” Luke 2:8-14 (NASB)
“Great joy…for all people,” are some of the words spoken by the angel on the night of Christ’s birth. And could the world ever use a dose of that!
We live in precarious and perilous times, punctuated by evil dictators, lying and fear-mongering governments, power-crazed politicians, woke educators, God-haters, and a worldwide pandemic.
In the midst of evil and chaos, let me remind you that joy is of the spirit, not the emotions, and therefore is not based on circumstances. Happiness is based on circumstances; joy, however, is a fruit of the spirit and therefore flows from Holy Spirit in you (Galatians 5:22). In the angel’s announcement above, great is the Greek word megas, from which we get the English word “mega.” Megas is over and above, above and beyond, more than enough. And as my grandkids would say, ginormous.
I felt today to encourage you to think of a joyful Christmas memory. It could be from when you were a kid, or as a parent or grandparent enjoying a kid/s. Perhaps it’s from a gift you gave, or one you were given. Maybe it’s a sleigh ride, a ski trip, a family trip, the Nutcracker with mom or a bowl game with dad. Think of something and let it unlock some joy.
Laughter is good. God said it’s like a medicine (Proverbs 17:22). Think of something from a Christmas past that’ll make you laugh. Maybe I can help.
We once had a dog named Mercedes. Sadie, as we called her, was a Boxer. God used Mercedes greatly in my life. She taught me patience, humility, poop-scooping, and the price of dog ACL surgery. I didn’t actually mind the poop-scooping in and of itself, it was the mocking laughter I could see in her eyes as I did it that bothered me.
We bought Mercedes - yes, I paid for these lessons - because we moved to an area where there were coyotes and foxes, which we knew would endanger our two other small dogs - they needed a bodyguard. Besides, everyone needs THREE dogs. But it backfired. Mercedes took over. Ceci and the girls actually went to obedience school with her a few times. That helped - she learned to sit. She came home and asserted her dominance by sitting on my chest. Seriously. I was stretched out on the floor watching a football game, nice fire going, when she proudly looked over at the girls and sat on my chest. “Good girl. Good sit,” they said.
Then there was the time she TP’d (toilet papered) the backyard. Yep, she did. We had a fenced backyard, so when leaving we at times left the back door open a foot or so to allow the dogs some freedom. We came home one day and there was a trail of toilet paper from the powder room (for all you guys that’s the half-bath you keep clean for guests) leading through the family room, out the back door, and into the back yard. Once in the backyard, it seems that Sadie’s creative side kicked in. She went over, under, around and through. She made circles, figure 8’s and squares. Then she did her business while I cleaned up the toilet paper. And if you don’t see the cruel irony of that then you’re pretty slow. I swear she was laughing.
But perhaps the most humiliating experience with Mercedes was when I had to chase her around on the roof of our two-story house. I was hanging Christmas lights - you thought I had gotten off the subject of Christmas, didn’t you - and with the house layout, it was a simple step onto our daughter’s bedroom window seat, then out the window and onto the garage roof. From there I could walk to the remainder of the roof, even the higher parts.
I was on all fours, carefully placing hooks for the lights on the gutters when suddenly I heard a noise behind me. I turned, and there was Mercedes - she had joined me! I panicked. If she fell off and hurt herself, Ceci and the girls would never forgive me. My tone of voice and panicked attempt to grab her scared her. She began running and wouldn’t come to me. So I chased her, which caused her to run more…Kevin Costner became known to the Native Americans as “man who dances with wolves.” I became known in our neighborhood as “man who dances with dog on roof.” True story.
Remember something today that makes you laugh. If you can’t think of anything, picture me with a 70 pound, well-trained, obedience school graduating Boxer sitting on my chest. The Message version of Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.” Laugh. It’ll do you good.
Pray with me:
Father, in these precarious and perilous times, punctuated by evil dictators, lying and fear-mongering governments, power-crazed politicians, woke educators, God-haters and a worldwide pandemic, we can still have joy. Cause the spirit of joy to rise up in Your people today. Even those in difficult circumstances or that have suffered loss, let the strength that comes from joy arise in them. Temper their grief with moments of joy. If it needs to be a supernatural impartation, please do that.
And we thank You for Jesus. He brought us mega joy. “Joy to the world, the Lord has come.” Because of Him we can rejoice. Remind us to remain focused on Him this Christmas season.
And even on a day in which we speak of laughter and joy, we still remember the babies. A reversal of Roe would be the greatest gift we could receive this coming year. Do whatever is necessary to give us 5 or more Justices who will find the moral strength to reverse it. In Christ’s name, we pray, amen.
We decree that joy unspeakable is ours today through Christ.
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