“Merry Christmas!” We have been saying this for generations and, though the origins of the phrase are vague, what isn’t is our desire for loved-ones, friends and complete strangers to experience true joy and well-being. But what does it actually mean to be “Merry?”
“Merry” and “merriment” don’t have the best connotation in Scripture, often associated with over-indulging in the spiked eggnog. This is not recommended but also off topic. No, we all know that to be “Merry” means getting everything on our shopping list at a huge discount on Black Friday. Right? How quickly our culture forgets that by the first of the year the presents are all unwrapped and many taken back for cash or something else altogether. Some people add insult to injury having charged their jolly way through the season and are now left with debt that haunts them like a “ghost from Christmas past” long into the new year. There has to be more than getting more…
I suggest to us today that Living a Merry life is… “Getting” what God wants and partnering with Him in it.
Consider Joseph. (See Matthew 1:18-19) What do you do when God asks you to do something that isn’t part of our plan, the norm, tradition, the expected? For many, this is the unspoken plan to make as much, save as much, provide as much, and enjoy as much as possible. We reason this to be the all-American “pursuit of happiness.” However, as Christ followers our priorities will be tested and we will be tempted to trade a deeper joy found in fulfilling God’s will for the temporary “merriment” of the idols of this life and the satisfaction they promise but never deliver. What will you choose?
Joseph had a choice. (See Matthew 1:20-25) Joseph risked his reputation and their very lives trusting in the promise of God that He would come through for them as they partner in His plan through them. This was risky, bold and required great faith.
Mary had a choice. (See Luke 1:26-34) Mary questioned, everything! Have you ever asked the question she posed, “How can this be?” Think about it… how do you know the call of God is really on your life? Consider that if it causes you to question all that you once had figured out, asks for more than you’ve got, calls you to go where you’ve never been and partner with people you never imagined… it may just be God calling! How did Mary respond? “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled…” (See Luke 1:35-38)
Again, I would suggest that Living a Merry life is “getting” what God wants and partnering with Him in it. This is the secret to a truly merry life.
What do we have to do to live this life?
Like Joseph and Mary, we must choose.(See Luke 1:39-45) Choose to Believe in “Immanuel, God with us” through Jesus and act on that same belief. Join Joseph and Mary and trust in God to be true to His promises every step of the way, regardless of the risk and cost. Besides, Jesus did this very thing for us.
JESUS CHOSE “GETTING GOD’S WILL AND PARTNERING WITH HIM IN IT” over any other agenda. He chose you, chose me and gave Himself up as our sacrifice. He came to live (facing every temptation so He could “get” or identify with us in ours), to suffer and die for our sins and rose again to offer us life eternal.
If we will will partner with God in this way, Mary’s Song will be our own as we are now called to carry the Messiah to this lost and dying world. “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” (See Luke 1:46-55)
Have any idols replaced the relationships that matter most in your life? Is there anything worth keeping you from living a truly “Merry” life? Choose true joy in Jesus today.