The TV show Modern Family makes me happy. I love good comedy and quick wit, but I wouldn’t consider it a true source of joy in my life. Happiness and joy are not the same thing. Happiness is usually the result of a gift or an experience that eventually fades away. Joy is constant, it is found in the presence of God in my life.
This weekend in junior high we are talking about how the Good New of Great Joy entered our world in the midst of so much pain. 400 years of silence, God’s chosen people lost and confused, oppression by the Romans…where is God? Nazareth accusing Mary of adultery, the embarrassment of Joseph, the pain of being different…where is God? Bullying from peers, divorced parents at home, academic pressure from school…where is God?
Joy is born into turmoil and among the broken.
The gospel is known best in the midst of pain, abandonment, chaos, silence, and fear. Christmas is not the beginning of our story, but the major turning point when God provided a savior from the line of Abraham for the broken of our world.
In our loneliness there is a poor traveler from Nazareth, a rejected preacher with a heart for the meek, a man who demands our life.
I tend to expect God to interrupt my life with thundering noises and flashes of brilliant light, but what we learn in Christmas is that joy is found in the smile of a baby, the innocence of new life, the savior of the world.