This is the second week of Advent. Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior. In some households, a candle will be lit in recognition of each of the Advent themes. This week we consider the JOY we have in Jesus.
It’s early in the morning, the darkness of my predawn living room is broken only by the lights from our Christmas tree. As I sip coffee from my favorite Christmas mug, I look over each ornament and am filled with Joy.
Pretty, blown glass balls of silver and blue are recent additions to our ornament collection. I love how they reflect and amplify the lights on the tree. Several of the ornaments are funny, gifted to us over the years, most of them themed in someway; beach, crabs, golf, boats, each conjuring memories of the crazy friends/family who gave them. But my all-time FAVORITE ornaments are those made by my mother-in-law and mom.
For many years, when the kids were little, my mother-in-law(Grammie) would make them ornaments. Tiny creations made from scraps of felt were perfect for little ones to place on the tree without supervision. They always got to hang their own. She lovingly turned plain ball ornaments into funny clown faces and even cute reindeers complete with antlers! Time, and my poor repacking skills, have lead to the demise of a few of these, but several have lasted and continue to hold a place on our tree. This morning my eyes rested on my favorite one and I smiled. There tucked sort of toward the back of the tree(sorry Grammie) was our one eyed reindeer. One of the reindeer’s googly eyes went missing many years ago, but he continues to be a valued part of our Christmas décor and memories.
My mom(Maw Maw) was always surprising me with unique creations for our tree. Small V8 cans were crushed, painted and transformed into angels. A bundle of small sticks, spray painted gold, became a lovey place for a small ornate birds nest with ribbon. A broken egg shell held a thimble full of moss, a small bird perched atop, and hung by a small red ribbon. But perhaps the best were her toilet paper creations. Toilet paper was somehow soaked, pressed into molds and came out as works resembling plaster angel faces. Even the empty toilet paper roll itself gave her inspiration…to someone else it was just trash, in my mom’s hands it became a painted, bearded Santa Claus.
I ran my hand over the rough beard of the toilet paper roll Santa Claus and laughed to myself at the uniqueness of her gifts….and then I considered Joy.
Maybe this season finds you changed by the years, perhaps it feels like something is missing, like our one-eyed reindeer…but know this my friend, you are a valued creation because of the God Who created you, not because you are perfect, but in every imperfection as well.
Maybe this season you are feeling empty, used up, cracked or a bit broken…we have a God who REDEEMS the lost, RESTORES the broken hearted and RECONCILES us to Himself even in our sin and imperfection. In the hands of God, what is empty, used up, cracked and broken is made beautiful.
THIS is the GOOD NEWS OF A GREAT JOY of which the angels proclaimed….and it is STILL Good News to us all today, every day, to All PEOPLE.
And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold I bring you good news of a great JOY which shall 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.” Luke 2:10-11