“Oh tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
Oh tidings of comfort and joy.”
Christ is the ultimate source of comfort and joy. However, Christian comfort and joy come wearing a disguise called life. Like most intangible blessings, comfort and joy are not found by searching for them. They come by seeking first and foremost for the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
No man comforted and happy as in his current state comes to Christ. Christianity has nothing to offer the man convinced of his own righteousness. Christianity begins with a personal conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit that breaks a man's rebellion and drives him to surrender himself to Christ. This indispensable experience is, at the outset, neither comforting nor joyous.
The path of Christian discipleship from that point onward is a repeated push out of one's comfort zone into a deeper relationship with Christ. Not everyone is ready for this turn of events. Many come to Christ seeking deliverance from a problem or a habit that drags them down. Once delivered, they are content. Christ is not. He has received us that He might make us holy as He is holy and He will not stop short of the goal.
I somewhat understand pampered American society's obsession with comfort. There are many in our society who are driven to shield themselves from words and actions that offend and trigger feelings of discomfort. The truth is too hard to bear, so they construct new inoffensive truths and expressions to escape.
I have never understood the Church feeling the need to accommodate this mentality or those that espouse it. When I became a Christian, it was expected that I assimilate into the life of the church. The church expected it because they were living the Christ life as best they understood it from years of study and real world experience. I expected it for myself because I was dissatisfied with the godless experience of “regular” society. I wanted what they had.
The modern church has abandoned a unique interpretation in favor of becoming “seeker friendly.” Churches do a disservice to those seeking Christ when they place comfort above conversion and accommodation above assimilation. When that happens, we close the door to the fullness of joy available in Christ's presence.
We have before us the example of parents who are too frightened by rejection to discipline their children. Observation of the resultant offspring has brought renewed life the scripture, “I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
How is it that the Church believes it will succeed with this failed model of child rearing and escape a similar result? Comfort and joy do not just happen, they are gifts from God that spring from a forthright revelation of Christ and an honest exhortation of His principles by the Church. During this season give the gift of Christ and so share tidings of comfort and joy.