One of the strongest longings that humans have is for joy. In the Christmas season, we do all we can to manufacture a sense of joy. We decorate with bright lights, festive ornamentation and even give and receive presents to bring a smile to a friend or loved one.
The Problem of Happiness
These are all valid and I wholeheartedly embrace the traditions of Christmas-especially lights on our houses when the days are short and the nights are dark. LED lights, for as insignificant as they may be, can produce fuzzy feelings on the most ardent Scrooge.
The problem is that we easily forget the source of joy. Joy is not something that can be manufactured. That is happiness. And happiness is most often circumstantial. If we get a piece of coal for Christmas we aren’t very happy, but if we get a car, we describe it as one of the “happiest days of our life.” It’s a roller coaster ride of highs and lows.
The Source of Joy
Jesus is the source of joy. His mere presence while still in Mary’s womb caused John the Baptist (also in his mom’s womb) to leap with joy (Luke 1:44). Joy is not found in presents, because ultimately they will wear out, need replacing, or lose their lustre. Joy is found in the presence of Jesus in our lives. He was, and is, the greatest gift that the world has ever received.
When we receive Jesus and experience the true joy he brings, our natural reaction is to want to share the news. That is what the Shepherd’s did. They told everyone they came across about the experience they had of meeting the baby, the Saviour of the world (Luke 2:17-18).
Does knowing Jesus still fill you with joy that can’t be contained? If not, perhaps this is the time to ask God to restore the joy of his salvation (Psalm 51:12). He will.
Refocus on Joy
When I get down and start to lose joy I am reminded of a very simple acrostic:
When I focus on Jesus first I lift my eyes out of my current situation and fix them on God, who is mighty to save in all the circumstances. When joy is fading, look up.
Then I focus on others. It is our self-focus that most often gets us into trouble. Try helping or encouraging someone in your reach today. Invite them to the Christmas Eve Service. What a fantastic way to share the Good news of Jesus and the joy he brings all year long.
This is a fantastic opportunity to experience the joy of giving. Give gifts to people who would never dream or expect something from you. It will not only make their day, but it will also make yours! It is the year-end, and at North Pointe, all of our reaching out into the community through programs and services are funded by the generosity of our people. Consider giving to North Pointe this month over and above your regular tithe. We are so very thankful for your generosity.
When we focus on Jesus and others, our own struggles are put into perspective. And God will take care of us.
Joy to the World, the Lord is come!