Our phone calls out directions to a Christmas party as we drive past the festive lights in the new neighborhood. We collect our gifts from the car and walk towards the door. Laughter filters through a window, then our host greets us at the door. “Welcome! Merry Christmas!” The first round of hugs and kisses give way to “Here, let me take your coat, put those presents over by the tree, what would you like to drink?” The scent of fresh baked pies, clove spiced wassail and a cinnamon candle waft over us. Warm drink now in hand, the first, “Hi, how are you?!” is followed by more hugs … Later by a crackling fire someone reads about shepherds tending flocks, angels singing, wise men delivering gifts and the wonder-filled sight of the newly born child humbly nestled in Bethlehem’s manger. He is the Son of David, our Savior, Christ, the Lord!
Isn’t this how we start to learn joy? Warm and safe in a place where caring people welcome us unconditionally, not judging whether our year passed “successfully” or “painfully.” We want help to laugh with loved ones and be content!
Now let’s take this picture multiply the intensity times ten, square the welcome and then add the comfort to infinity! This is the level of joy waiting for us when our Savior, once swaddled in a manger, welcomes us to His feast in our true home we will enter when heavenly Jerusalem descends to earth.
As long as we are imagining that day picture too the hosts of believers waiting to say “Hi! Welcome to the wedding feast of the Lamb!” Pavel and Julia will want to greet you. Zbyszek from Poland, Sasha from Ukraine, Roman and Viktor from Russia too. Zvonko and Maritsa … Did you really think heaven only holds personal family and friends for us to see again. Won’t all the ones you’ve prayed for, supported, sent messengers with the gospel be waiting there too?
May the love of God, the joy of Jesus Christ and the peace of the Holy Spirit fill you this Christmas!