I sit here writing on my couch in view of our first dainty Christmas tree that my husband and I got for our first Christmas together just last year. It was actually a hand-me-down from my mother and was intended to be an outdoor decoration. It stands 3 feet tall, its branches are scarce, and half of the lights have gone out. Under the tree sit our Christmas presents for friends and family. To say they are wrapped would be a bold-faced lie as they are all packed away in previously used Amazon boxes with “Merry Christmas” written out in green expo marker. Needless to say, the Masons were on a budget this Christmas.
And as I sit and look at our sad little corner of attempted Christmas spirit, I can’t help but know that the joy that will be experienced in our home this Christmas will far surpass any joy that comes from twinkle lights or perfectly tied bows. While the Christmas cheer in me yearns for a massive tree, a yard to decorate, or some Pinterest worthy gift boxes, my heart is warm in the security of knowing that the joy we will know this Christmas season is something so much sweeter, so much warmer, and so much more sustainable than the happy things that the Christmas season brings.
And that is the difference, isn’t it? The difference between the things of this season that make us happy versus the things that will bring us joy. While warm hot chocolate, cozy sweaters, and our favorite holiday movie will certainly add and contribute to our happiness this season, I, for one, am so incredibly grateful that the joy that comes from this holiday goes so much deeper. It is something that can be experienced no matter your budget, no matter your holiday cheer. Because that is the beauty of joy. It has nothing to do with us, our possessions, or our circumstances…instead it has everything to do with our precious Savior, Jesus Christ.
From his earliest moments in the womb, our Lord was bringing the fullness of joy. For from the first moments of His incarnation, His mercy and promises were being felt by those graced to be in his presence.
“ In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.’” ~Luke 1:42-44
And in his birth, this joy felt by a select few would now be brought to all people. For as Christ entered the world as a new born babe, this supernatural joy would now be extended to the ends of the earth as the promised Messiah had finally come.
“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” ~Luke 2:9-19
And while the Christmas season revolves around this joy that was brought at Christ’s birth, let us not cease our joyous reflections here. For, the joy Christ brought even at birth was not because of the birth itself, but was because of what His birth would mean for generations to come.
The three “lost” parables of Luke 15 speak of this joy that Christ brings in reconciling that which is lost with where it belongs. That is, the joy we all experience in being brought to reconciliation with God, the Father because of our faith in Christ, the Son.
We then see in John 15 that it is not simply what Christ does for us that brings joy, but it is his very feelings toward us. That we may be in the love of Christ — a joy that is full and complete in and of itself.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” ~John 15:9-11
And probably the sweetest aspect to the joy of Christ is this: it’s not even over yet. As if His very existence, His birth, His sacrifice, or His love were not enough…this holiday season I hope we are all reminded that Christ’s return is soon coming and it will lead to a joy that is beyond all understanding.
“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” ~John 16:22
I find it nearly impossible to wrap my brain around all of the reasons we have to rejoice in our Lord this Christmas. Each aspect covered in this blog, we could easily reflect on for the entire year and still not be done celebrating. So this week, as we look to the joy of Christ I hope you are overcome and overwhelmed at the joy he has to offer us. It is a joy that goes so far beyond the happy things of Christmas. A joy that cannot be fully encompassed within one blog, a few verses, one week or even a few years. And at the end of this week I pray that each of us would be drawn into a proper posture which naturally comes as we soak in all of the joy that our Savior graciously gives:
“And, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name. Again, it says, ‘Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.’ And again, ‘Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.’” ~Romans 15:9-11
“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.” ~Psalm 30:11-12
Enjoy this song during your Worship Time – A Christmas Alleluia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG347euXoTM
And, here’s a fun song for you – Joy To The World (You Are My Joy) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7iPgWgeNsk