Genuine, authentic joy isn’t the thrills and cheers from external events. Pleasure that comes from holidays, gifts, and wonderful vacations last briefly, and many times the memories are quickly forgotten. You have heard the chorus: I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart to stay! True joy is a deep abiding feeling of peace and contentment that we year for daily. This joy can be found in the acronym we learned as children:
Loving and serving Jesus must come first in our lives because this should be the most important part of our lives. How is that even possible with the many responsibilities of our jobs, families, and everything that seems to control and direct us? Making Jesus first in our lives is only possible through consistent periods of thoughtful silence, and prayerful times alone with Him. We need to develop a caring attitude toward others and strive daily to live a life pleasing to God. Scripture tells us that some of the fruits of the Spirit are “love, joy and peace.” Fruit has to be planted, nourished and cared for if it is to be good. I find that joy being listed between love and peace is very significant. Joy is surrounded by God’s love for us and His great peace remains with us despite circumstances. External events are often unwelcome, but we can rely on the love of God deep in our hearts and know without a doubt that He is always with us. This faith and trust is the nourishment joy needs in our lives. This verse tells me that joy is a gift from the Holy Spirit of our Lord. Only through Him and Him alone, can we have this lasting joy.
So, where is joy in this advent message? After Joseph and his wife, Mary, completed their difficult journey to Bethlehem, they discovered that there was no room at the inn. Their first child was born in a stable, seemingly unnoticed by anyone but God. He sent angels in all their glory from heaven to announce this miraculous event to some tired, dirty, smelly shepherds. These unkempt men were terrified at being approached in such a way. Their response, though, was to go to Bethlehem to see that which the Lord had made known to them; the message to them is the same as it is to us today.
“Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
The angel said that this good news would be for all people – A Savior has been born! “Joy to the world, the Lord has come.” May we rejoice in the celebration of Christmas, glorifying and praising God for all we have seen and heard.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the joy we have in our hearts as we celebrate Christmas. May we love and serve you with joy and eagerness.