Today's Lectionary Text
O sing to the Lord a new song,
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
Many of you will recognize that Psalm 98 is the Psalm upon which Sir Isaac Watts based his famous hymn “Joy to the World”. Many of you will also know that Marcia McFee has developed an Advent series around the theme of Joy, celebrating the great joy of the birth of our Savior Jesus. When I used this series for Advent a few years ago, I saw the theme of one Sunday was Unabashed Joy. There are many words in the English language of which I do not use often and one such word is unabashed. I generally know what it means, and I have seen it used in many novels but have rarely used it myself. In preparing for that Sunday, I found that abashed means to be restrained or inhibited by circumstances or by someone else, so unabashed means to be free of restraint, free to express oneself with joy. I began to think of ways in which there was unabashed joy exhibited in the Christmas story, that was easy, but I also wanted an example from my life today to use, and I found the picture above on my phone.
The church had a Day at the Ballpark, watching the Omaha Stormchasers play. The forecast indicated we could get rain during the game, but the whole family enjoyed the day, with my granddaughters enjoying all the fun possible besides baseball. The clouds around us finally let loose with a downpour, just one out away from being a regulation game. When the rains came, all the adults scrambled for cover, trying to pick up all the possessions they had brought and trying to keep electronics dry. Many people left for their cars, but we stayed hoping the game could continue and most of us were wet and a bit grumpy about it all - but not my granddaughters as they played in the puddles and stood under downspouts and had the time of their lives, so I believe my picture captured their unabashed joy.
I do believe the participants in the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary, and the witnesses, the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks, and anyone else who was present, knew unabashed joy, an incredible love sent down to us by God. I share my unabashed joy in the birth of Jesus and what he means in my life, and I have unabashed joy in my grandchildren as well.
-Rev. Galen Wray
Prayer for Reflection
Creator God, you have gifted us with great love and great joy as you sent Jesus down to us. May we fully embrace the unabashed and uninhibited love you sent not only at Christmas but every day of our lives. Amen.
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