After hastily opening the wrapped package and making the obligatory “thank you’s”, it certainly didn’t take long to turn away from the thoughtful gift as something ho hum.
Then three year old Eleanor came along, stopped by the discarded item, and exclaimed, “What a beautiful gift! Is that yours? You must be so happy?”
As she walked away I thought to myself, “Why don’t I have joy like that?”
At times we have those feelings which cause us to cry out, “I need more joy in my life!” It’s even true at this time of year. For one reason or another we find ourselves lacking joy. There are indications everywhere that joy should fill our lives. Decorations are going up inside and outside. Christmas music surrounds us and cards start arriving daily.
Some days the festive joy does fill our hearts as we excitedly go about our holiday shopping and schedule planning. Yet, deep down we know this joy will not last. Planning becomes overwhelming, schedules start falling apart and decorating gets tiresome. Above all, we know from experience, there will be no joy when we find we don’t have enough money to purchase the perfect gift or when credit card payments come due. All of that may lead us to shout out, “I need real joy! I need joy that will last!”
Here’s some great news. Christmas brings us joy that does last—the true joy found in Jesus.
With a love we cannot comprehend, our heavenly Father gave his only Son, born to be save us. Starting in the manger in which he was laid up until he was placed on the stone slab of a borrowed tomb, Jesus lived the life of perfect obedience all of us are unable to live. Each and every evil thought, evil word and evil deed we have done has been picked from us by our heavenly Father and placed on Jesus. On Calvary’s cross, Jesus bowed his head in death declaring, “It is finished.” These words of Jesus bring us true joy. They mean that all is done and Easter’s announcement “He Is Risen!” guarantees that God our Father has accepted Jesus’ life and death as payment in full for all our sins. Easter’s announcement guarantees the announcement of Christmas: “A Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” True, lasting joy is found in the forgiveness of sins that is ours through Jesus.
While we are in the midst of the season when it seems hard to keep joy in our lives, focus on the true Joy Giver. Ponder again the words of the angels to the shepherds, “Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born. He is Christ the Lord.” Come and worship the Babe born in Bethlehem, and may God the Holy Spirit fill you with a joy that never ends.
Join us this Christmas to hear about the child born to save us!