Joy to the World…not from the World

The Biblical story of Adam and Eve pictures them living in innocent relation to God, the creation and one another. They were without self-consciousness and were, therefore, able to receive all three of these relations as gift. The result for them was joy. Really, joy was a byproduct of seeing the gift of all things. When they broke faith with God, they became self-aware and everything went downhill from there. Now, all their relations were subject to the calculations of survival and self- evaluation. Among the great casualties of this was joy.

This means that if true joy is to come upon you, it must be within the framework of these three relations: God, the Creation and the beloved. For it is only when these are received as gifts in the innocence of faith that true joy is present. But since innocence is no longer possible for any of us, how is joy possible? To ask this question is to properly read an important aspect of our human dilemma.

Christmas announces that joy has come to the world. Joy does not originate within the world. And the joy that Christmas announces is no generic sentiment. The joy of Christmas has a name, a face, and a purpose. The joy of Christmas is Jesus Christ, a person. And that person has been given to us as a gift. Like everything else that God has provided, Jesus is a gift from outside of us. When, in the reborn innocence of faith, we see in the face of the crucified and risen Jesus, the gift that restores us to God, the Creation and one another, the result is that authentic joy that the world neither knows nor gives.

Published by Pastor Mark Anderson

Lutheran pastor, husband, dad, archaeology nut, serious blues guitarist and aspiring luthier.

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