Do you ever listen carefully to the songs of the season? Sometimes the words give cause for pause. Take Come all Ye Faithful. This is one of the oldest Christian Christmas songs. Written in the 1600’s by monks, originally it was sung in latin, Adeste Fideles. It’s certainly one of my favorites.
It’s the opening line that has me thinking. Come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant. It’s a call to come and worship the Christ child. The strange thing is that the child is just born. Where could we expect to find “faithful, joyful, and triumphant” folks before God’s salvation plan was executed? The world was dark and lost and in need of a savior. Even now, two thousand years after Jesus paid the price for our sins, faithfulness, joy and triumph are rare.
As I write this I can see a Christmas card set up on our kitchen counter with a single word on it, “Joy.” It comes across not so much as an experienced reality, but a hopeful possibility. I have experienced times of joy, great joy in fact, but it’s not nearly my normal state. Joy doesn’t describe my daily life, but rather something I experience in quickly fading flashes.
Donald Trump is attracting a lot of political attention by proclaiming that American isn’t winning any more. I think it’s because triumph is rare in our national and personal lives. The forces aligned against us seem too many and too powerful. The “good guys” don’t seem to be winning. In fact, they don’t even seem to be around any more.
Maybe the secret is in “faithfulness.” Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrew 11:1. Joy and triumph are things we are not seeing They are more things hoped for. Faith gives substance to joy and victory for which there is now no real evidence. Real joy and real triumph are only possible through real faith.
The promise of Christmas is that through faith, fear can be vanquished and joy and triumph may reign. Come. Let us adore Him, Christ the Lord. May this Christmas meet with Christ increase our faith and make the joy we should feel and the victory that has been won, really real.With the shepherds on that holy night, we can experience joy and triumph the same way they did, through faith.