Two weeks ago, we piled into the SUV with our kids and grandkids to go see the Nite Lites display at Michigan International Speedway. It was a beautiful evening, and the 30-minute drive through the display of lights with music was a great way to kick off the Christmas season. But, decorating for the First Christmas didn’t happen with electrical cords, colored lights, trees, or glitter. Nor were Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra singing the Christmas classics. There could have been snow; after all, it was winter. Most likely, it was just another very chilly night in the desert region of Israel we know today as Palestine.
No one baked holiday cookies that night, and no tourists flocked around to see what was happening. Just a few simple shepherds out in the field witnessed that awesome event of the First Christmas as “the glory of the Lord shone around them” and an angelic choir sang “Glory to God in the Highest.” Those shepherds went to Bethlehem to see if what the angels said was true. What they saw filled them with so much joy, they hurried off to tell others what they had heard and seen. They saw, and they believed.
Advent is the season to have our faith strengthened. To be reminded of the power of Jesus to work miracles, both in the Gospels and our daily lives. To grow in faith is to grow in joy because the Lord we come to know is the source of our joy. Today begins the 3rd week of Advent. The candle to be lit on the wreath is rose (pink). That’s because pink symbolizes joy: the joy that Jesus is almost here. What better time than this week to gather the family around, dust off your Bible, and experience the joy of reading the story of that First Christmas? (You can find it in the first chapters of Matthew and Luke.) Then afterwards, go share your joy with others that Jesus – the light of the world – is coming. Relive this Great Story, and relive the joy it brings. May you have a blessed week preparing your heart to receive our Savior.