“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.” – Psalm 13:5-6.
Joy is a central theme woven throughout the Christmas story. John the Baptist jumped for joy even in his mother’s womb: “When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy.”(Luke 1:44) The angel announced joy to the shepherds. “…I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.”( Luke 2:10) The wise men were filled with joy: ”When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!” ( Matthew 2:10)
But there is often little joy in a season where there should be joy. The Christmas season arrives right after Thanksgiving when everyone pulls out their iPhones and electronic calendars to schedule family Christmas activities and festivities. Misgivings are starting early this year. When will I get all my Christmas shopping done? How many school programs do I need to attend this year? I have to get a Christmas tree and string the lights outside. Where is the joy in that? Every year, we place a losing bet on the world to supply a truly joyful holiday season.
The famous Christmas song “Joy to the World,” praises the coming of Jesus into the world: “Joy to the world, the Lord is come…Joy to the world, the Savior reigns.” This song not only celebrates the birth of Jesus but is a reminder when joy was brought into the world. The song continues, “Let earth receive her King.” This is a reminder that we have the responsibility for receiving this gift of Jesus and to pursue and experience joy in our lives. By letting “every heart prepare Him room,” we are able to embrace joy every day.
When faced with day-to-day distractions, it can be easy to forget to seek out peace and find joy in the circumstances we are in. Creating joy in our lives can be difficult to do, but when we remember that joy was something that came—that entered into our world and promises to never leave us, we can take comfort in this fact.
This holiday season, I encourage you to embrace the spirit of joy. Remember that by keeping Christ at the center of all of your celebrations, you can experience true joy and understand the reason for the season. So will you join me in praying that God would help us experience the joy of the season when Jesus came into the world as a baby that very first Christmas?
- What do you think is the basis for Christian joy?
- How does the message of Christmas contribute to your sense of joy?