If you gather a group of adults and ask them to talk about the joy of Christmas they will no doubt reminisce about festively wrapped packages, snow covered landscapes, and home baked goodies. On the other hand if you go to the local mall and ask people to describe the joy of Christmas you might get a snowball hurled at you. Let’s face it there is no joy in the stress of shopping, snarled traffic, or impending debt. Still, each year millions of people try to recapture the joy of Christmas by overloading their schedule and their bank accounts only to have that joy fade as fast as the smell of the Christmas tree.
The Bible has a very different view on the joy of Christmas. Rather than looking for joy in the material Christmas, God tells us to look to the birth of Jesus. In Luke 2:10 we read that the angel told the shepherds “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” This was the joy of the first Christmas. A Savior had been born. Of course the shepherds probably thought that the Messiah had come to deliver them from Roman rule and for this there would be great joy.
In John 15:11 we get a clearer picture of joy when Jesus told his disciples, “ I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” So what was Jesus’ joy? Look back in chapter 15 of John and we see that His joy was keeping his Father’s commands; In other words obeying God. And why did this bring joy? John 15:10 gives us the answer, “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.” So if we keep Jesus the center of our life His love will cover us and this will be the source of our joy.
The bottom line is this; your joy should come from within. It should come from the relationship you have with a sovereign God and loving Savior. If you are feeling far from God this Christmas take 5 minutes before you back out of that parking space and into the next traffic jam to bow your head and thank the Lord for his blessings. Re-center, refocus, and rededicate your life to serving the one who came to save the world from sin. You will find the real joy of Christmas.