When the words “sugar plums” comes to mind, happy thoughts of Christmas cheer breaks through the gloom of holiday preparations. Clemet Moore’s poem of 1822, “’Twas the night before Christmas,” with children tucked into bed with “visions of sugar-plums dancing in their heads,” comes to mind. I would imagine these “sugar plums” were holiday confections, loved by young and old alike.
This time of year brings to mind many pleasant memories and expectations, the coming of the Christ Child. Yet the Child will grow to manhood, and then He will take His place beside us in the Jordan’s baptismal waters. He will stride forth to bear the justice our sins deserve on His cross and bestow His righteousness of peace with God the Father upon all with His loving grace. These treats last eternally.
Christmas time is a time of family and love, the love of God’s gift of His Son to us, who comes to make us a part of God’s family, pure and undefiled. Since we could never measure up to God’s formidable standards of obedience to His Law with purity, the Son was given to take our place. He did the Father’s will, loving the unlovable and dying for the guilty. He arose triumphant over all foes of sin, devil, and death. He bequeathed to us His grace, the forgiveness of sins, that we might never fear nor despair.
The family gathered around the sickbed of a loved one, well aged and resting comfortably. Soon nature would take its course and take the life of their beloved. Everyone loved each other, but knew it was time to let go. It is never easy but the inevitable happens. What is so comforting to know is that the “sugar plums” of God’s love and grace in the gift of the Christ Child to us never fail or fade. The joy of His atonement declares His joy for us, His life for ours, our lives lived in Him.
When asked about the resurrection, and whose spouse belonged to whom, Jesus assured that people live in the love of the Lord, “sons and daughters of the resurrection” (Luke 20:36). More importantly, Jesus emphasizes that “even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” that the Lord “is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live in Him” (Luke 20:38).
With reassurance, the prophet Zephaniah, after pronouncing God’s judgment upon unfaithful Judah and sinful humanity, he breaks forth with songs of joy for the Lord’s coming to sooth and comfort His anxious people. He will “rejoice over you will gladness . . . He will deal with all your oppressors . . . save the lame and gather the outcast . . . and change their shame into praise” (Zephaniah 3:17, 19). When the disciples of John asked Jesus for good news, Jesus reminded them of the fulfillment of these prophesies. “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them” (Luke 7:22).
The joy of the Lord lights our darkness with His presence and gladness. With all the rest of holiday preparations, with “Sugar Plums” and all, may the joy of the Lord remind us of His abiding love for each of us, who comes to comfort us with His presence and peace.