Week 3: JOY (December 14)
Stories for the family...by the Rev. Nasel Ephraim
Joy to the worlds the Lord is come, (in your best, most boisterous singing voice) is a carol that can be heard bellowed on every corner, in every neighborhood where there is a church close by. The exuberance of the people is breathtaking the naughty become nice and the nice become nicer! The atmosphere is light and lit with colors that evoke happiness. When asked what brings out the most joy in the season of advent or Christmas, persons declared, “singing the hymns are wonderful,” “reflecting on His first coming story makes me happy,” “knowing that one day soon he’ll come again gives me a special feeling on the inside.”
Joy for many of us can mean varying things and because of this, it is expressed or portrayed differently. The consensus though, is that there is jubilation in this season and while the bad of this world persists, the people find a hope, a love, a peace and an ultimate joy that carries them through. We await the second coming with our heart full -- joyful!
In the Moravian congregation in Zeist, the Netherlands, there is a tradition called "Christbescher". This tradition is probably originally German, although it isn't common anymore in any other congregation in either The Netherlands or Germany. You may translate it as "Christ-Present".
During advent the godfather or godmother surprise their godchild with this present. While singing "Morning Star, O Cheering Sight" they enter the dark room with a tray, nicely decorated tray. On the tray you find pine branches, (homemade) cookies and Christmas goodies. Of course there is a card and a present for the child. But most importantly, on the tray there is at least one light; a tangerine which holds a candle. The tangerine represents the world and the candle is Jesus Christ, light of the world.
Submitted by Sharisa Wirht from Zeist, Netherlands.