If there is a single word that describes what Christmas is all about, I like to think it’s the little word “JOY.”
Several of our favorite carols mention it: “Joy to the world, the Lord is come,” “O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,” “Shepherds, why this jubilee, why your joyous strains prolong?” “Good Christian men, rejoice, with heart and soul and voice,” “Joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies, with th’ angelic host proclaim, ‘Christ is born in Bethlehem.’”
Think about some of the movies we watch at Christmas:
- A Christmas Carol. Scrooge is all messed up and everybody hates him, but by the end everything is wonderful and joyful.
- Miracle on 34th Street. It is a very secular Christmas story, but still it all turns out joyful.
- It’s a Wonderful Life. In the midst of turmoil and hardship what do we see? We see that in the end – joy.
- Even Christmas Vacation ends up joyful and everyone is happy, because that is the way that Christmas is supposed to be. Christmas is supposed to be joyful.
Sometimes it’s not always easy to feel joyful at Christmas. Life can be hard and difficult. Troubles and sorrow are magnified at Christmas. Especially when everyone else seems to find joy, it compounds our lack of it. But Christmas can bring us the gift of joy. Christmas should be a delightful disruption of the way things normally go.
So, how do you get joy at Christmas? Can you tell a few jokes, watch an old movie, maybe get the perfect gift. All these might help, but I don’t think you can conjure up joy. It comes from some place different. As the children sing, “I have the joy, joy, joy, joy … where? down in my heart” This Sunday I want you discover how to receive the gift of joy this Christmas.
I continue my sermon series, The Gifts of Christmas. And this Sunday I will talk about the gift of Joy. I will be following the traditional Christmas story in Luke 2 (it’s the one Linus quotes for Charlie Brown).
The Christmas story is a story of joy. Following Jesus’ birth, the angel told the shepherds, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” (Luke 2:10) We will discover some interesting aspects of joy.
Join us this Sunday, @ 10:30 a.m. I hope you will discover the joy of knowing Jesus.