The little boy was so sad. His father was a soldier and had been off to war for almost a year. The boy remembered those fun times when Dad was there to play with him or just be around. It was Christmas and Mom took the boy to the mall to see Santa Claus. Sitting on Santa’s lap, the boy looked up longingly and told “Santa” that what he wanted most for Christmas was for his Dad to come home. At that point, Santa, with a smile that couldn’t be hidden by those whiskers, slowly began to pull them down and show his face. The little boy suddenly realized that “Santa” was Dad. The hugs were tight, the moment unforgettable. Even those of us watching had to take care of the tear that suddenly appeared on our cheek. No definition of joy was necessary. The little boy and all of us who were watching knew what joy was because right there before our eyes it happened. By definition the ineffable cannot be put into words. It is Christmas time and we call it a joyful season. The source of our joy is realizing that behind the temporary costume of time is our eternal Father waiting to reveal himself to his children. In one sense he has been on duty for quite some time but now he is home and about ready to surprise us. Abba Father is the source of true joy. He had a responsibility in the person of his Son to leave heaven and come to battle Satan here on earth. By rising from the dead he proved the incalculable power of love. Now he’s home in heaven and that joyous reunion is about to happen. The whiskers are about to come off. We know it and it fills our heart with joy. Shelley wrote “I have drunken deep of joy, and I will taste no other wine tonight.” The redeemed child of God has tasted the deep joy of God’s presence and there is nothing that could ever compare with the profound satisfaction of that wine. On that first Christmas eve the angel announced the good news that was bringing “great joy to all people” (Luke 2:10). Jesus told his disciples that when they found themselves cursed by others for following him they were to “Leap for joy” (Luke 6:23). Joy runs freely through the gospel story. The God of joy became man in Christ Jesus, lived among us to proclaim glad tidings and is now in heaven getting ready for a jubilant return to take his followers to heaven for a joyful eternity. “Santa, take off that mask.