Have you checked out this week’s Advent video short #LiveTheJoy? In it we make 3 important theological observations as to why joy is at the heart of the Christmas story.
We live in a creation that is out of balance. So much in our world has been ruined through greed and violence brought about by human hearts that are out of sync with the beating heart of the creator.
The significance of the Christmas story is its profound relational meaning. It speaks to us about God breaking into our time bound world to re-establish a living and dynamic relationship with his creation. You might say to bring us all back into sync with his will and purpose. Christmas tells us God has come among us. The Bible tells us that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. The use of the phrase ‘the world’ is an inclusive one that speaks of God’s enduring loving relationship with all of his creation. In the epistles to the Ephesians, Paul speaks of the will of God, as having the effect of bringing all things in heaven and on earth together under the authority of Christ (see Ephesians 1: 3-14).
It is his intention to rebalance his creation and bring about a reconstructed heaven and earth. The incarnation, Jesus becoming human, is God reaching out to us in joyful hope and expectation. So in our Advent video we imply there is a joy to be experienced in reaching out to each other. To live the joy of being reconciled to those from whom we have become disconnected. We can all live the joy of being in a reconstructed relationship.
#LiveTheJoy reminds us that there is something wonderful when we begin to find the personal in the advent preparations. The message of Christmas is paradoxical - while it is universal it is also personal. We are told in the prologue of St John ‘but to as many as received him’ in other words there is a personal invitation given to us all to be reconciled. Later on in the same gospel John implies in Chapter 3 verse 16 that the invitation is personal, hence he used the word ‘whosoever’ believes. In other words there is a personal invitation made to us all by God and we are being expected to make our unique response.
Another significant idea in the video #LiveTheJoy is there is something wonderful about the children painting with their hands creating a personalised Christmas gift. This Advent we are suggesting each of us does something to make Christmas more personal for those we love.
The final thing about #LiveTheJoy is it reveals that God takes great delight in being creative. We are told in the creation narratives that when God created the world he rejoiced in its goodness. The surprise of the incarnation story is that God turns his creative power on its head. He who is all powerful, whose existence is outwith time, chooses to become vulnerable. God becomes helpless and vulnerable so that we who are frail and powerless might understand a different type of power, the power to overcome temptation and right wrongs in the world.
So #LiveTheJoy invites us to become creative. It uses our imagination to look for mystery and meaning, in the circumstances of our lives. For the Christian our glass can never be half empty for it always has the potential to be full and running over.
So try living the joy this Christmas, by becoming more relational, making Christmas more personal, by using your imagination to become more creative in your everyday living as we allow the message of the scriptures to inspire us to live the joy.
Very Rev Albert Bogle
Watch the short film.