Joy is Resistance
Truth’s Table: Ekemini Uwan, Michelle Higgins & Christina Edmondson
“While shepherds kept their watch o’er silent flocks by night…”
We sing Go Tell it On The Mountain every year. The kids’ choir sings it, the congregation sings it, the worship team attempts some revamp in rehearsal then just decides to keep to the old school traditional gospel foot stomper that it is. But even when it gets old, it’s never tired.
For Jesus Christ, the King of Ages, is coming into the world. Like the shepherds who were stunned by the sight of God’s angel, we are often shaken with fear. The “good news of great joy that will be to all people” is a shock to some and a comfort to others. We need this message on repeat. We can all join the chorus, as the shepherds did. And while everyone one who hears us wonders at our words, it is possible to express the joy of the Lord in the face of the frailty of man-made powers.
In fact, we protest the foolishness of the world by having joy, right now, in the midst of oppression. Our shouts of joy, like that of the shepherds, are the biblical response to the coming of the Messiah from Bethlehem. In God’s wisdom, He brought the shepherds together even before they saw the Star of promise, and they experienced the good news together. Today we come together with the people of God around the world and celebrate the birth of the King! Today we laugh, sing, dance, and clap in the expression which looks like foolishness to the simple because the object of our longing has now come.
It is in this rejoicing that we find the source and example of our celebrations today. The shepherds might have wondered “Why?” at the circumstances of Jesus’ birth. Yet it may be the humble elements of the King’s entrance that brought both praise and promise. The King of Creation, the Author of Salvation, was born in a barn. The Messiah sent a sky full of singing angels to a field for the great announcement of the King’s birth. Meanwhile a bright but single star signaled to the great philosophers who would deliver word to the man who thought himself king.
I imagine the shepherds receiving this good news with both tears and laughter. Perhaps all God’s people were looking for a legendary King David style grand entrance. Yet the Son of David burst into the world through awkward social circumstances. Y’all, Jesus’ parents were a married couple expecting a baby… yet waiting to have sex! You can’t tell me Elizabeth didn’t at least chuckle at that, if Mary told her. Even when God’s mercies interrupt our dire situations, He sends the sweet comfort of joy and laughter to lead us through seasons of want and waiting. This too is resistance.
As we await the second Advent, let us remember to laugh. I mean deep belly laughs. Let tears of laughter push back on fear and unproductive anger. Christ has imparted righteousness, strength and dignity. For this reason, we can laugh. Our humor is a gift from God. Let us remember to bring joy and wit on this journey. Let us be witty waiting women. Remember, Proverbs provides deep wisdom for these moments, days and years ahead: “She is clothed in strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” (Proverbs 31:25)
We thank You that one of Your means of sanctification is made manifest in us during appointed times of waiting. With all of the sin, sorrow, and oppression in this world, the enemy seeks to take our joy. Oh, but we remember that the joy that we have was not given to us by the world. No! The joy that we have was given to us by the Holy Spirit, and it’s lodged deep within our souls, safe from the winds of change this world brings. Father, we thank You that our joy is found in the person of Jesus Christ. We thank You for Jesus’ birth, life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. We thank You that He is interceding for us even now, and we pray for His soon return. We pray all of this in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen
Merry Christmas, sistas!