Having started our role as Pastors of Rosemary Lane Chapel we find ourselves in the position of approaching Christmas with the usual sense of excitement. But there was a question hanging over my head. If we now find ourselves, as we do, with a responsibility for ministry and sharing the Gospel message, is it not about time I ditched my child-like-excitement for Christmas and approach the birth of my Saviour with a bit more decorum? Sorry, not going to happen! I’m excited because, fundamentally, the anticipation of Jesus and therefore Christmas, fills me with joy and joy should be met with a visible, uncontainable expression. Indeed, it is this expression of joy that is our greatest tool in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, with others.
My thoughts were galvanised as I wrote a short article for our church newsletter:
Anticipation To Joy
As a child I used to get really excited about Christmas: The start of holidays, the rifling through the pages of toy catalogues and the writing of wish lists. Even the Radio Times was a cause for great excitement; I used to go through the TV listings meticulously highlighting all of the films and programmes that I wanted to watch. I kept a special eye out for Home Alone and, a particular favourite, Santa Clause The Movie (the one with Dudley Moore). I would become excited at the sight of tins of Roses and a Terry’s Chocolate Orange… or two (my weight fluctuates a lot at Christmas). Finally, the excitement of Christmas Eve and the anticipation of morning time was almost too much to bear. If I’m honest, very little has changed.
Whilst we sometimes get lost in the traditions and trimmings of Christmas, it is still possible to recognise that there is something vital about anticipation, in particular, how anticipation can bring great excitement and joy!
As the wise men approach Bethlehem having followed the star, the sense of anticipation builds and finally, they can hold it back no longer. The very sense of anticipation that they feel explodes into rejoicing with great joy. Joy uncontainable spills over in anticipation of the promised, prophecy-fulfilling Son of God. The One who brings peace, hope and love to man.
As we approach Christmas may we each be filled with a sense of anticipation for the coming of the Prince of Peace. May this anticipation spill over into uncontainable joy for the one who brings hope to the nations. May anticipation give rise to joy for the One who would become the greatest expression of the Father’s love.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.