Becoming Christmas: Unlocking Joy – A November 2016 LifeLetter

In Luke chapter 2 …

we find Shepherds who were frozen in fearful amazement . . the night time darkness had been swallowed up by light, but not just any light – no, the very glory of God Himself was on display . .a messenger from heaven delivered a Divine birth announcement . . God’s very Son had entered into our sin-shattered world as a baby in a nearby feeding trough . . good news that produces the greatest of joy could not possibly be contained by just one angel . . rather, an angelic army equivalent to the very stars themselves busted out a worship service that proclaimed “God is not as war with men” . .”Light is here to shatter darkness, fear and hopelessness” . . Mercy indeed had arrived and was lying in a manger.

Have you tasted THAT greatest of joy?

Have you felt it well up in your soul and rearrange every part of your being?

So often we mistakenly equate joy with happiness and chase it like a coveted feeling . . a feeling that is tethered to “Hallmark moments” that dissolve quicker than you can say “ISIS” or “cancer” or “death” in this hell-bent world.

Have you discovered that the joy of the Lord is beyond the reach of “Have yourself a merry little Christmas”? Is not “happiness” just for the do-nothing bums in the bleachers that can only “feel good all over” when the score is going their way? Finding and flourishing in God’s joy has never been a spectator sport but instead begins with a resolute determination to find ourselves becoming Christmas . . and one can never fulfill God’s calling to become Christmas without first humbly choosing to be the light that pierces the dark.

The true Warriors in God’s kingdom reject the cowardice of disassociation and condemnation and self-preoccupation in their “good religious life” and settle for nothing less than being grateful vessels of God’s life-restoring mercy.

So just what does that look like?

Don’t we all do better if pictures come with the directions? Clarence helped George Bailey “see” the wonderful life. Cash helped Jack Campbell get a glimpse of what a joy-filled life could be as a family man.
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So, for the next few “all is calm, all is bright” moments, why not slow down your holidays . . and ask God to give you a glimpse like never before of just what it means to be led by mercy down the joy-immersed path of . . becoming Christmas.

The screenplay adaptation of Les Miserables …

is an unforgettable and timeless call to cherish restoration over retribution . . even when injustice has come knocking on your door. Ever wondered who in your reach might be one encounter with mercy away from a lifetime of selfless servant leadership? This scene finds Bishop Myriel pressing the silver candlesticks into the criminal Jean Valjean’s hands and stating “Your life has been spared for God,”, something only possible if we are careful to remember that God first was for us …

The 2016 Marks & Spencer Christmas advert …

finds Mrs Claus coming to the rescue for little Jake, who has annoyed his entire family – particularly his sister, to the point of exasperation. Anger, dissension and unforgiveness can divide families for generations, but the curse of darkness can always be broken by even one child’s choice to show mercy …

A Shoplifting Grandma …

At times, 2016 has looked a lot more like Watts in 1965 than a country where peace and harmony flow out of a culture where men, women and children are judged by the content of their character vs. the color of their skin. Post World War II South Los Angeles was all too familiar with the demonic scourge of racism and prejudice. In an escalation of behavior that began as far back as the 1920s, whites bombed or fired into houses and set crosses burning on the lawns of homes purchased by black families while white gangs in nearby cities such as South Gate and Huntington Park routinely accosting blacks who traveled through white areas.

The cauldron was ready to boil over. Like America present, law enforcement was in the center of the carnage. A drunk driving arrest that went badly on August 11 eventually resulted in a 5-day mass riot that saw 34 people lose their lives and $40 million in property damage.

As police officers are now routinely targeted by incensed citizens who know nothing better than rage and payback, many are wondering what it will take to keep America from descending into all-out anarchy. Perhaps that answer can found in one Officer William Tate who serves on the Tarrant, Alabama police force …

Found your path yet to joy?

You are are not left to your own thoughts and ideas and limited wisdom. No, Jesus has blazed this trail for us on our own turf. The cradle is His reminder to get small. The cross is His reminder that mercy comes at a very personal cost, but the writer of Hebrews reminds us that, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross.” (Hebrews 12:2)

This is the path to joy? We all conclude sooner or later that the price is simply too high. We tell God that it is just too hard to look past injustice and hurt . . it is just too hard to forgive or get in the ditch with those who have crashed and burned. We don’t have the patience, the humility, nor the love to be His agents of mercy.

God;s response is total 100% agreement . . which is why there was a Christmas. God was and is so for us that He came to not only live with us but to live in us so that in Him we can be the light that pierces the dark.
Hillsong really gets as noted by the prayer lyrics from “Let There Be Light” ..

Let the light that shines above
Become the light that shines in us
There’s no darkness in Your way
So have Your way
Lord have Your way

Would you join me in making that THE prayer today? Together, we just might find ourselves one joy-filled step closer to . . becoming Christmas.
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Find All of the “Becoming Christmas” 
LifeLetter Trilogy 

Click On The Titles Below

Part 1 – “Becoming Christmas: Tidings of ..?”
Part 2 – “Becoming Christmas: The Mission of Mercy”
Part 3 – “Becoming Christmas: Unlocking Joy”

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About the author : David "JB" Miller

David

David "JB" Miller is founder and author at LifeLetter Ministries. He and his wife Cheri make their home in beautiful Paradise Valley, Arizona and have six children and six grandchildren they absolutely adore.

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