Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Advent 2017 #5: When Joy Flowed Forth and Splashed Into My Heart



For the first time in more years than I can remember, I have the freedom to participate in activities on the spur of the moment. Sunday, a friend asked, "Hey, what are you doing this afternoon?" 

My first thought was, "Visiting with Sam, of course," but, before I spoke, I remembered. Sam's with Jesus now. It was a shock to realize there was no one to ask or inform if I did something unexpected.

"We're going to the Fortnightly Musicale Christmas Concert this afternoon. Do you want to go, too?"

I hesitated. Spur of the moment is no longer familiar and, for an instant, I didn't know what to say. Finally, I nodded. "Yes, I'd love it," I told her, and I did.

Different musicians performed either vocal, piano, or organ selections of Christmas carols. They saved the best for last. Dr. Darwin Brooks played a piano rendition of "Ding Dong Merrily On High." It wasn't my favorite Christmas song before, but it is now. 

The expression on Dr. Brooks' face as he played was one of pure joy. I have never seen anyone perform with such enthusiasm. He looked like a boy having the grandest time ever as his hands danced across the keys. 

It was the most magnificent musical performance I've ever heard because joy radiated with every note.

I wanted to stand up and shout, to cheer, to say Amen. Dr. Brooks showed us what God intended music to be - an outpouring of sound that reflects the emotion inside us. Joy bubbled over onto the ebony and ivory and spread throughout the room, splashing straight into our hearts.

I've thought about Dr. Brooks' performance ever since. Shouldn't the work to which God has called us give us that same deep joy? Shouldn't it flow forth from us to all we meet? Yes and Yes. 

As disciples of Christ, we have something worth celebrating, especially during the Advent season. More than 600 years before His arrival, the prophet Isaiah wrote of the joy Christ would bring. 

"The people who walk in darkness
will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark lang,
The light will shine on them.
Thou shalt multiply the nation,
Thou shalt increase their gladness;
They will be glad in Thy presence
As with the gladness of harvest;
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil."
Isaiah 9:2-3 nasb

The light of Christ would give the kind of joy men feel when they have a great harvest. Jesus, Isaiah wrote, would bring the joy of more than enough. 

The Messiah would break our chains and set us free. He would defeat our enemy and our battle would end. God would give us the One on whose shoulders the government would rest. He would be our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There would be no end to the increase...better and better for ever.

Six centuries later, the chain-breaking, enemy-beating Savior finally arrived. He didn't meet the expectations, He exceeded them, because Jesus didn't defeat an earthly enemy. He defeated sin and death. 

The Messiah is all Isaiah said He would be. He truly is more than enough. He's more than enough to handle our sin, our confusion, our pain, our sadness, our doubt. 

As we prepare to celebrate the arrival of God-in-flesh, let's remember the victory, the joy He brought and allow it to fill us to overflowing. 

We celebrate a returning King who is more than enough and His increase will have no end. 

The Savior has come. Eternity has begun. Let the celebration begin; let our joy overflow.
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In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: #4 The King Who Will Not Let Us Down. Here are the links to the other posts in this series: #3 Preparing for Transformation, #2 Preparing for the King with an Humble Heart, and #1 Getting Ready for Jesus