Sunday, December 5, 2010
December Word of the Month
This isn't just any month, so I cannot pick just any word. I have pondered how I would convey the feelings I have about December and Christmas and all of its holiday goodness rolled into one single solitary word. And then it came me.
Even as a child, this passage from Luke 2, the story of Christ's birth, has always intrigued me:
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
I can recall a book that I had access to when I was small which had a beautiful illustration of angels in the skies hovering over bewildered and awed shepherds with the town of Bethlehem in the a far-off background. You all, I am sure, have seen in your lifetime similar paintings and pictures. But the thing that strikes me as odd is that there are usually only two or three or four angelic figures in the paintings. That, to me, is not the depiction of "a great company of the heavenly host."
In my mind, this "great company" would be multitudes of angels, filling the skies with angels, angels as far as the eye can see, angels too numerous to count. Blindingly beautiful angels. And they are excited. The air is filled with their excitement, a palpable pulse of joy.
If we think, I mean REALLY think, about this passage from Luke 2, we know that the angels appeared before the shepherds. But why? Yes, the first angel comes to tell the shepherds about what has occurred in the little nearby town. But what about the others?
What Luke describes is JOY. The angels were so overjoyed - OVERJOYED - that Heaven could not contain them. Or they could not contain THEMSELVES in the "confines" of Heaven. Joy so pure and totally overwhelming that they would risk showing themselves to mankind, a celebratory manifestation which over ruled anything that they had ever known. I think that in our human existence we cannot even imagine that kind of joy. Joy that REQUIRES rejoicing.
And that brings me to December's Word of the Month......REJOICE!
Rejoice by definition in the dictionary means "to give joy to; gladden". What a time to rejoice....Christmas, Christ's birth and all that implies! What an example we have set before us in Luke 2, verses 13-14! If the angels in Heaven were so moved with joy they were compelled to REJOICE, so moved with joy that Heaven's boundaries were inadequate to contain them, then we mortals have been given the wonderful opportunity to follow suit.
So let us take on our rolls of celebrants. REJOICE in the Season; REJOICE in the gift-giving; REJOICE in our hectic schedules; REJOICE in the carols; REJOICE in fellowship with friends, family, acquaintances, and even total strangers! Wish those you meet with "Merry Christmas" as though you mean it! Sing with all your heart. Relish traditions, but embrace new opportunities to celebrate!
I leave you today with this quote from A CHRISTMAS CAROL:
"It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! ~Charles Dickens
Now let's go keep Christmas and REJOICE!