Interrupted by Joy

The sound of tires squealing is always an interruption.

There had been an accident. And for a split second, I didn’t know what had just happened, but within a matter of milliseconds the vibration of my car getting rear ended caught up with my brain, and I realized I had been hit.  In my rear view mirror was a 15 year old girl holding, you guessed it — her cell phone.  A hard lesson was learned for her that day.

When questioned, the girl lied to the cops about being on her phone. I didn’t say anything, but I made sure to tilt my head down and give her the, “I see what you did there” glance – you know the one where your teacher would look over the frame of their glasses while staring into your soul? Yes, that one. In the end, it all turned out fine.  No one was hurt, and her dad eventually forked over their insurance info after trying to buy me off for $500. 

Yet despite everything being taken care of, one thing that I couldn't recover was the time I had lost. It was a huge interruption. I had a full day of things to do that Sunday and because of that accident my whole day was disrupted. Interruptions aren't fun for anybody. We are all busy, and we have things to get done at work, and there is always another assignment to turn in. 

Whenever this time of year comes around, I am always reminded that we especially don't have time for interruptions in a season like Christmas. Between the holiday parties, and the overtime at work – we are at capacity.

But you know what hit me recently? The Christmas story, just like everyday life, is filled with interruptions. The whole thing was an interruption; a turning point; a trajectory shift. A moment where humanity pivoted. It is a pinnacle example where humanity is interrupted with the reality of God with us. 

Not many wanted to be interrupted by Jesus. The priests at his dedication – they didn't notice it was him.  The rulers around the region – they just wanted him dead to secure their claim. Not even his parents could find a place to stay when his mother was in the height of labor. People were just way too busy… sound familiar?
Most did not stop to look closer at what was happening, but there were a few. 
Outside of the city of Bethlehem, there was a group of shepherds tending their flocks. They were at work, busy in the midst of the mundane hum of life, when they experienced an interruption that would change everything. The sky cracked open, a squad of angels descended, and one began to speak to them saying,  “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”

The shepherds – those ordinary, everyday, working class shepherds, when met with the interruption of Jesus, Luke tells us plainly, “They hurried.”  They got moving. They acted on the invitation. I believe that is the reason they found “great joy.”

Good news of great joy? Wasn't it just a normal night in Bethlehem?  Why was the birth of this child such an urgent interruption?  Why would this baby be the cause of such joy? These are questions people throughout history have pondered, and I think we only learn the answers to them when we face the interruption of Jesus for ourselves.

This is why when humanity fell, God didn't snap His fingers to fix the problem.  He personally involved Himself. He got his hands dirty.  He became one of us, and this is really good news. It means we have a landing point for our searching and our wandering. We know why we exist. 

Jesus is the joy of the world, and He really is for “all people.” Yet He only becomes “great joy” when we take time to be interrupted by Him. This is because He longs for a relationship with us. He wants to come face to face with His creation. Knowing God will always be our greatest source of joy. We were wired that way. 

And so today, I invite you to reflect on these questions:  Who is Jesus to you?  Is he just an interruption in the midst of your busy holiday schedule?  Is he merely another object to think about in the midst of our materialism and draining bank accounts? Or do you hurry to see him?  Does He hold your heart?  Is he your joy?  
Kyle Smith
Lead Pastor at Commons in Overland, Kansas
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