Oh, What Joy That Fills My Soul

by Harry Schaumburg

No one can ever forget the sheer joy of the Christmas mornings of their childhood. Although my parents hoped we would sleep in, my brother and I were wide awake and ready to go at least by 4 AM. The excitement and anticipation must have produced an adrenaline rush only possible in a child’s heart and mind. When Aaron and Nate were young, having learned from personal experience, we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve.

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (1 Cor. 13:11). Here is the question of the season and throughout life: How much have I grown up? Have I really changed? What excites me now? Honestly? At the top of my list at Christmastime is sitting in front of the fireplace holding my sweet wife and enjoying our love for each other. I always look forward to the cards and notes from BIC Alumni sharing the changes and struggles and growth in your lives. Thank you so much! I also get enjoyment from my new tractor, anticipating moving into my new office, Christmas dinner, the great weather common to Colorado, an early morning walk with Libby, our yellow lab, etc., etc. The list goes on and on, but the question is: Have I put away childish ways? What does it mean to become a man, especially on Christmas morning?

What I find is a twinge of excitement that I find interesting. It comes easily, and that’s what I find fascinating because it seems quite natural. Just the thought of the baby Jesus lying in the manger brings tears, even as I write these words and read the sentence again. Am I getting old; just a sentimental old guy? Yes, no doubt about it! But am I becoming a man and putting away childish things? That is the fundamental question.

John Piper’s new book, God is the Gospel, confirms my thinking and my experience. The gift of God is an unbelievable display of mercy. So I prefer minimizing the use of the word “Christmas.” There are too many negative commercial connotations to the word. I prefer to speak of the Incarnation! The mercy displayed brings my heart to see the glory of God. As Piper points out, “. . . the joy should not rest on the gift . . .” but God himself! For a long time I have thought of Philippians 2:6-11 as the best Christmas passage in the New Testament. The Incarnation is the unique opportunity to see the Lordship of Christ and the glory of God. How exciting!

So this is my Christmas, my Incarnation prayer for you: “. . . that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might . . .” (Eph. 1:17-19).

What does it mean to grow up and put away childish things? I would suggest it is seeing the Incarnation, not with our heads, but with the “. . . eyes of your heart . . .” Seeing with the eyes of our heart allows us to see the spiritual reality of God himself. The fact of the Incarnation becomes the greatest gift, the gift of God himself. Then I feel that twinge of excitement deeper and deeper within my being. I can’t wait until Christmas morning and quietly opening, again, this marvelous gift of God himself.

“For now I see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (I Cor. 13:12). Be filled with eager anticipation as you ponder the Incarnation and the gift of God himself that has come and is yet to come at the end of this age. Prepare your hearts to see Him and all His glory! It will definitely change your heart and your life like nothing else you’ve every tried.

If you have any questions or comments, please email me at Harry@stonegateoffice.com

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