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Comfort and Joy

Merry Christmas all,

I pray that you all had a very merry Christmas. I did, my family did, and even my cat, Gandolf, did. I say this because my daughter came home to visit with her dog Oliver. This displaces Gandolf to our bedroom, negating his ability to roam the house at will. Normally he goes into a depressed pout for the duration of Oliver's visit. This year he discovered something. He discovered that could go mess with Oliver's food and water. Usually its just Oliver messing with his food, but Gandolf has finally turned the table on Oliver. It is a joy watching the power struggle between cats and dogs. Its like watching the power struggle between siblings over the Christmas break. No matter how old our kids get, they always seem like kids, our kids. It's a joy to have them around.


Which reminds me of one of my favorite Christmas hymns, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. The chorus in this song sings of tidings of comfort and joy. We speak of joy around Christmas as I just did, family gathered together, celebrating Christ's birth. It is good to reconnect and fellowship. It is a joy. It may wear us out after a while, but it is a joy.


But what about comfort? What is the comfort of comfort and joy? Let me make an effort at putting this into words.


On the way to Northwest Cabarrus High School, there is a Nativity scene every year, as far back as I can remember. They are historically precise, meaning this, they do not put baby Jesus out until Christmas morning. So, this gives me the pleasure , every time that I drive my daughter to or from school, of slowing down as I pass this Nativity and asking this question: Is it Christmas yet? Is baby Jesus born? No, no baby Jesus, its not Christmas yet. Now my 17 year old daughter likes this game of mine. In her emotional acceptance of this silly father/daughter game I believe that we can find the source of comfort.

There is comfort in the Nativity. There is comfort in the Good News of Jesus Christ. There is something reassuring to the human spirit when we see Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

God rest ye merry gentlemen

Let nothing you dismay

Remember Christ our Savior

Was born on Christmas Day

To save us all from Satan's power

When we were gone astray

Oh tidings of comfort and joy

Comfort and joy

Oh tidings of comfort and joy

Seeing is not necessary for believing. However, seeing the Nativity does remind all who believe of Jesus and his purpose. We each, in our own way, can find comfort and joy in that.

I wish you all comfort and joy throughout the New Year.

Blessings,

Thad Brown

Opportunity House

and Harmony UMC

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