As a chaplain, when I visit patients in the hospital, depending upon their level of quarantine will often determine what I have to wear before I enter the patient’s room. Sometimes a mask or gloves will be necessary to protect me from the patient or vice-versa. Due to the ‘close proximity’ I could catch what the patient has.
The same is true with God. To have been given saving grace means that God is now in relationship with you and it’s a relationship that is so intimate and so close in proximity that you will catch some of what God has. It’s what systematic theologians refer to as the Communicable Attributes of God. If that is true (and it is!) what are some of the communicable attributes of God that are contagious? Hope, love, peace…and of course Joy!
Often times when we think of God, we can understand a Holy God or a Righteous God – but a joyful God? Yes absolutely. What’s interesting is that there is a Hebrew word that describes God’s Joy that actually means to frolic, to jump up and down and to clap hands. It carries with it the picture of a child, who say, is opening presents on Christmas morning. There is great frolicking is there not? There is great joy!
JRR Tolkien wrote an essay entitled On Fairy Stories and its His theory of fiction. In it, he wrote this: “All good stories are based on the gospel story. The gospel story is an idea where we are living in a world of darkness and on our way to doom – but a hero breaks into our world and shows up and takes on our doom and towards the very end it looks as though he is defeated and done for – but low and behold he snatches victory out of the jaws of defeat – and he’s not some weakling he is actually this great king who is leading us to triumph.” Tolkien goes on to write, “…that is the essence of all the great stories we have ever loved.”
Tolkien hits on something that is truly profound. All great stories are just imitations of the greatest story and as Tolkien explains the only difference between all these great stories and the Gospel Story is that the Gospel is the myth that became fact!
The Gospel Story…is the only story that can truly deliver good tidings of great and everlasting joy! Let us hear once again the beginning of the Gospel Story made Flesh when Angels came to announce the good news!
The following is from Bebe and Cece Winans: Joy to the World!