This week we have completed the 3rd Sunday in Advent, and light a candle recognizing the Joy of the season. As I contemplated joy, I recalled the story of little Virginia O’Hanlon and the response she received from the editor of The Sun regarding her question, “Is there a Santa Claus?” (If you aren’t familiar with the story, google it.) I realized that many of the assertions the editor (Francis Church) used in his response could have as much impact if we substituted the name Jesus each time Sant Clause is expressed.
Church reminds us that:
We are all affected by the skepticism of our age, and do not believe what we cannot see.
His existence is as certain as love, generosity and devotion.
Our world would be dreary indeed with no childlike faith, and the poetry and romance that makes our existence tolerable.
This how this relates to Jesus:
Can we as skeptics truly believe in Jesus? We can’t see him—at least with our eyes. But remember our relationship with Jesus relies on faith. You know, FAITH—the belief in things unseen. We need to put aside our skepticism and put our minds to that unseen Lord of all.
Our God is creator of all, and Jesus was there in the beginning! "All" includes those things of beauty, whether in created nature or in those things such as poetry and romance "seen" by man.
Think also how dreary our existence would be without the faith we have in Jesus—that He gave his life for us, that He is responsible for creation of all the things of beauty we see, hear and touch in our lives.
This brings me to Lay Servants (all believers, really). Our faith calls us to action to "make disciples of Jesus Christ." Lay Servants seek ways to deepen their own faith, and just as fervently see to share that faith with others in the world around them. And by sharing that faith, they also share the JOY OF THE SEASON as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas. To take a twist on Francis Church’s comments, “Yes, Virginia, we need Lay Servants.” They are needed to be the hands, minds and hearts of the Church to spread the "childlike faith" that the world needs. We need to keep/deepen that faith in Jesus to "make this existence tolerable."
Similar to Church’s closing, “Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding (as faith). No Jesus! Thank God he lives, and lives forever. A thousand years, nay ten thousand years Jesus will continue to make glad the heart.”
If that is not something Joyous to celebrate, what is? And who will spread that Joy if not a Lay Servant?
Director Lay Servant Ministry, Topeka District