So often this time of year, we hear great Christmas carols over and over again, but the words escape us. I recently went to a Christmas concert at College Park Church in Indianapolis and heard the “Little Drummer Boy” performed and a line in the lyrics strongly made an impact on my heart. I never remembered these words with such vividness and emotion. Listen to the lyrics:
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give a King, pa rum pum pum pum
rum pum pum pum rum pum pum pum
Shall I play for you?, pa rum pum pum pum
on my drum?
Mary nodded pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him pa rum pum pum pum
rum pum pum pum rum pum pum pum
Then He smiled at me pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum
I thought is that what I just heard? “Then He smiled at me!” What a powerful statement at the heart of the gospel. It is difficult to get a genuine smile from anybody any more. But when you do…it warms your soul. It connects with you in such a way that it is hard to forget.
Imagine if the smile came from the King of Kings, the Lord Jesus. I know of no other religion in the world where the god of that religion smiles, ever. There is never that deep of a personal relationship, that deep of love, that deep of compassion, and that amount of empathy that would draw a smile. The gods of religion are emotionless, distant and uncaring. The gods of religion do not love, and therefore do not smile. A genuine smile comes from a heart of love. A smile can do more to heal the soul than a thousand words. A smile uplifts and encourages the heart and creates a bond of understanding. A smile is an invitation to develop a deep bond of affection.
We all crave a smile that really means something especially during the holidays. We do not want a fake smile or a contrived smile. An empty smile actually can do more harm than good. We have all been deceived by a smile that disguises a selfish soul. Desiring a smile is really indicative of a deeper issue that we are seeking someone who cares. The gods of money, fame and self-exaltation may smile with greed or pride, but they lead you into a path that damages the soul, that creates a callous and indifferent attitude towards others and causes one to scowl rather than genuinely smile. They breed fear and anxiety and turn you into an Ebenezer Scrooge that loses the ability to be compassionate and empathize with others.
Our cultural today is increasingly embracing an ideal that God does not smile, God does not love and God does not care. The smile of Christianity has faded into a religion that cares more about numbers in their campaigns of church building then people who crave a genuine smile, a genuine love and a genuine caring about their lives. We need to have a restoration in Christianity of the authentic smile from the heart of God showing that He so loved the world with all its faults and shortcomings that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in him regardless of race, age, social status or past mistakes will not perish, but have eternal life. The smile of God is deep and lasting and is an unending reminder that He truly cares about you. I Peter 5:7 says in no uncertain terms “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” God Almighty cares for you when all others forsake you. God, the Creator of the heavens and earth, cares for you even when the world turns their back on you.
I’ve carried you since your birth. I’ve taken care of you from the time you were born.
Even when you’re old, I’ll take care of you. Even when your hair turns gray, I’ll support you. I made you and will continue to care for you. I’ll support you and save you.
To whom will you compare me and make me equal? To whom will you compare me so that we can be alike?
No one takes care of you like God takes care of you. No other religion on earth has a god who cares for you. No other man-made philosophies or ways of thinking will take care of you. Why would you want to be involved in such religions or philosophies? They will all leave you empty when you need them the most. We all need God’s care. We all need God’s smile. In these other religions and philosophies you become quickly forgotten. You fade away as unimportant and not worthy of a smile. You simply do not matter. The Bible contradicts this notion with blazing light and certainty. God promises in Isaiah 49:15 “I will not forget you.” Nothing in this life can cause God to forget you. You have value to God. You have worth to God. You are not some object to advance a religious ideal. You are someone who God loves intensely and cares for in the deepest sense. Nothing in the religious archives of this world compares to God’s everlasting love and mercy that chases after you every moment.
Zechariah 3:17 says that “he will rejoice over you with gladness: he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” The Hebrew word for “rejoice” means to dance, skip, leap, and spin around in joy. Can you imagine the smile of God as he dances around in joy and gladness over you? Can you fathom that God exults over you with loud singing! Singing is the manifestation of an incredible joy and love God has for you. He wants a relationship with you and for you to experience the wonders of His love.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!
God is never too busy for you. He thinks about you all the time and His thoughts about you are so many that they outnumber the grains of sand. For God to think that much about you, you must have immense value to Him. You must be more precious to Him than any earthly treasure.
You have surrounded me on every side, behind me and before me, and You have placed Your hand gently on my shoulder.
It is the most amazing feeling to know how deeply You know me, inside and out; the realization of it is so great that I cannot comprehend it.
God deeply knows and cares for you more than any close relative or best friend. This care does not diminish or fade. He understands you more than you understand yourself.
God knew we needed a Savior, a deliverer and a mediator to redeem us and bring us back to Him. We need to be reconciled back to God to fully develop and enjoy our relationship with Him. This can only be accomplished thru the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. The smile of God that shows His limitless love and caring for us is fully revealed in Jesus Christ.
Not only that, but we also rejoice in God [rejoicing in His love and perfection] through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received and enjoy our reconciliation [with God].
I Timothy 2:5:
For there is [only] one God, and [only] one Mediator between God and mankind, the Man Christ Jesus.
Therefore, since we have been justified [that is, acquitted of sin, declared blameless before God] by faith, [let us grasp the fact that] we have peace with God [and the joy of reconciliation with Him] through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed).
Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Let us rejoice in our hope and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power].
Like the little drummer boy we are unworthy of the king. We have nothing to bring into his presence that justifies us. We have no work or golden trophy that will be allow us to be reconciled to God. The King paid the price for us with his own blood. He gave His life for us so we can have continual joy and unlimited peace in Him. It is an amazing truth for all ages that we, a little drummer boy in worth and value, are restored to God through the ransom of Jesus Christ. What love He has for us! O the wonders of His grace towards us even in our most desperate hour. The entire creation waited eagerly for the smile of God to be revealed in Jesus Christ. This was the cry of the psalmist three times in Psalm 80:
Psalm 80:3,7,19 (NET):
O God, restore us. Smile on us. Then we will be delivered.
O God of Heaven’s Armies, restore us. Smile on us. Then we will be delivered.
O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, restore us.
Smile on us. Then we will be delivered.
The smile of God is proof of His deliverance and restoration. This promise is fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. On that miraculous star lit night 2000 years ago, the angel announced the smile of God had been born in the little town of Bethlehem.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
No other person is qualified or has proved He is a Savior. No religion has a Savior that actually delivers. No philosophy can make you whole or give you eternal life. They all come up woefully short in the Savior department. Isaiah 9:7 (MSG) says there is no limit to the wholeness that Jesus Christ brings. The Greek word for “Savior” means “deliverer and rescuer’ from danger and destruction and bringing salvation or wholeness in the process. The greatest thing we all need deliverance from is that virus that each of us have in our blood called sin. Sin is not some archaic religious term, but a dreadful reality that spreads like a dark blanket over every person on earth. The power and consequences of sin has wreaked havoc on the human race and has kept it oppressed in bondage of body and soul. From the power of sin comes every calamity, every violent act, every type of evil, and every disease of mind and body. Sin is the great destroyer of relationships including our relationship with God, and it turned Adam and Eve’s perfect relationship with their Heavenly Father into a broken connection of fear and dread. The final wages of our sin is physical and spiritual death. How desperately we need a Savior from sin! Jesus Christ is the only Savior from sin. He crushed the power of sin with his death and resurrection and paid for the deliverance from sin with his life.
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, so death spread to all people [no one being able to stop it or escape its power], because they all sinned.
But the free gift [of God] is not like the trespass [because the gift of grace overwhelms the fall of man]. For if many died by one man’s trespass [Adam’s sin], much more [abundantly] did God’s grace and the gift [that comes] by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, overflow to [benefit] the many.
But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,
Who is this who comes from Edom, from the city of Bozrah, with his clothing stained red?
Who is this in royal robes, marching in his great strength? “It is I, the Lord, announcing your salvation! It is I, the Lord, who has the power to save!”
Only Jesus Christ can redeem us from our sins and restore the smile of God on our lives. He is God’s free gift of grace that brings us back into the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. Only in Jesus Christ can we made whole from sin and its consequences. In the hills of Judea, God sent His angels to announce the good news of His plan for all ages, Jesus Christ is born with the mission to conquer sin and bring us back to the heart of the Father. We have been chosen to display the smile of God to the world and show forth His glorious love and favor revealed in Christ. What a night of praise as the Savior has come! No longer do we need to be trodden down by sin. No longer do we need let sin wreak chaos in our lives and separate us from intimacy with God. Jesus Christ came to dismantle the power of sin and usher us into a new life in Him. We no longer belong to the god of this age, but rightfully belong to Him as His beloved children.
Listen to the words of Ephesians and I John:
Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault—we who stand before him covered with his love.
His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to!
Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us because we belong to his dearly loved Son.
So overflowing is his kindness toward us that he took away all our sins through the blood of his Son, by whom we are saved;
And he has showered down upon us the richness of his grace—for how well he understands us and knows what is best for us at all times.
I John 3,1,2a:
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Dear friends, now we are children of God,
What greater honor can there be than to be born again as a son or daughter of God, redeemed by the blood of Christ, and citizens in His heavenly kingdom? Do you see why God smiles in Jesus Christ? He brought back everything that Adam had lost in the Garden and much more. All of the amazing love, kindness and grace of God was poured out on us through Jesus Christ. He brought back intimacy with the Father. He opened the door that we can have unlimited access to God and enjoy His presence every moment. He took away every hindrance to our relationship with God and called us to walk with Him in the deep warmth of His love. Do you see why Jesus Christ is smiling also? The smile of God will never fade on your life. The smile of Jesus Christ toward you will never diminish. Nothing in this world can change that.
Listen to these beautiful words from The Sacred Journey: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Our Affection by Bryan and Candice Simmons:
Your Creator knows that true transformation comes by a relationship-a powerful relationship with Christ where love’s torrent covers your sin and makes you lovely in His sight. Jesus never comes to scare us into submission, but He woos us into intimate friendship with Him. God delivered His transforming truth and the grace for change in a relational package-the person of His Son. Grace has a face, and His face is smiling toward us each and every day.
God does not wait until you are perfect before He enjoys you. In fact, He loves the weak, the immature, and those who feel incomplete. Think of Jesus placing a crown on your head and then watching you grow until you fit into it. He calls you a hero before you ever act nobly. Today, Jesus smiles at the thought of you. Jesus is the lover of your soul…Drink in this love, drink deeply of the passions of His heart: God loves you in the same way God loves His Son. The measure of the Father’s affection and love for Jesus is the measure of Jesus’s love for us. “I love each of you with the same love that that the Father loves me. Let my love nourish your hearts.” (John 15:9).
Do you have a longing to be close to Jesus today? He will draw so close to you that it breaks every chain that holds you back, every weight that holds you down. Even if He has drawn you a thousand times in the past, ask Him to draw you again. Cultivate a relationship with Him. See yourself as His partner, His companion, the one He wants to be with. He will be more to you than you can ever think or imagine.
As the little drummer boy, we come to Jesus with nothing that justifies us or makes us worthy. He smiles at us out of pure love for our faith to come to Him because He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Let His smile transform you and bring you into a glorious relationship with Him.