• Clarice Aeby

Stubborn in our joy


nativity scene in candlelight

PHOTO: Andreas Böhm from Pixabay

How do you celebrate your joy this Christmas?

A dozen years ago my first grandchild crawled across the room to the touchable images in the manger scene with “Oh, Come Let Us Adore Him” playing the background. He pulled himself up to the end table and reached out for the Baby Jesus. Silent tears filled the eyes around the room.

As I sat beside that same simple manger scene today, thinking about its present and eternal meaning, I’m still compelled to respond -- in some way.

child's nativity scene

Nativity scene from the collection of Kristie Nolta, made by her and her daughter

Joy often elicits a response of praise from us, doesn’t it?

The Bible is full of spontaneous examples:

APPLAUDING

“O clap your hands, all peoples.”

PSALM 47:1

SHOUTING

“Shout to God with the voice of joy.

PSALM 47:1

BOWING DOWN “Oh come, let us worship and bow down;

let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker. “

PSALM 95:6

Wooden nativity scene from the collection of Kristie Nolta

STANDING IN AWE “They who dwell in the ends of the earth

stand in awe of Your signs;

You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.”

PSALM 65:8

LIFTING YOUR HANDS

“So I will bless you as long as I live;

In your name I will lift up my hands.”

PSALM 63:4

snowman nativity scene

Nativity scene made from painted gourds, from the collection of Kristie Nolta

SINGING

“My heart is steadfast, O God;

I will sing, I will sing praises, even with my soul.”

PSALM 108:1

SILENCE

Silence is praise to you, Zion-dwelling God.

And also obedience. You hear the prayer in it all.

PSALM 65:1-2

Nativity scene from the collection of Kristie Nolta

In The Applause of Heaven, Max Lucado says:

“Jesus embodied a stubborn joy. A joy that refused to bend in the wind of hard times. A joy that held its ground against pain. A joy whose roots extended deep into the bedrock of eternity.”

I like the idea of “a stubborn joy.” In whatever circumstances you find yourself this Christmas season, I pray we will all find a reason to be stubborn in our joy and free in our praise.

Pull up a chair and sit still

Nativity scene from the collection of Kristie Nolta

I hope you find a few moments of stillness beside a manger scene, a Christmas tree, or a simple candle to celebrate the joy of Jesus’ love for you. I’ll join you as we applaud, bow down, stand, lift our hands, sing, or settle into silence… however the Spirit moves you.

Thanks for sitting still with me today.

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