“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19)
Joy. Is it on your Christmas list this year?
If you search the internet for “where to find Christmas joy,” you’ll turn up some interesting results—Walmart and Target, for instance, and online streaming services. It turns out that “Chrismas Joy” is the title of a Hallmark movie made in 2018. The search also pulls up Christmas stores, music, T-shirts, books, events, and decorations among other things.
You won’t really find joy by shopping for it, though. You can buy “temporary joy” through gift purchases for loved ones. But that kind of happiness doesn’t last far beyond the tissue paper wrapped around it.
You can also be merry while enjoying Christmas music, light strings, candles, parties, and all the other festive decorations. But the euphoria fades as soon as Christmas Day is done and the ornaments make their way back into storage for next year.
Where, then, do you find lasting joy in Christmas? The kind of treasure that won’t dim or rust but lasts all year long?
For Christ-followers, the secret to lasting joy isn’t found solely in Christmas Eve worship or carols. It’s found only when we bow before Jesus. And it’s not always easy.
Christ’s teachings were difficult, sometimes too hard for His disciples to follow. Among His closest friends, however, was one who realized there was no alternative:
From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:66-69)
Peter was basically saying, “Where else could we go? There’s no one else to whom we could turn…You’re the way, the truth, and the life, as You’ve said.” Peter understood that true joy could only be found in serving his Lord and Savior. He had found his “fullness of joy” in the person of Jesus Christ.
We need to come to the manger this Christmas and look beyond it to the cross of Easter. When we do, the incredible joy—in God’s love for us and His gift of eternal life—supersedes any flimsy joys we foolishly seek among the things of this world. Real joy can only be found in His presence. And it means giving up everything else to grasp it.
Look to the miracle of the manger this Christmas, where the living God has entered our pathetic, sinful flesh and become a man among us. Seek His presence in quiet moments of reflection as well as in the boisterous bell-ringing or angel-song of Christmas morning. Shout the truth—“The Savior of the World has come!”—to everyone who will listen.
May you find your true joy in Him this blessed season.
Jesus, Son of God, we welcome You into our hearts and homes this Christmas. Infuse us with Your Holy Spirit as we rejoice in Your love. Bless us with Your gifts of abundant life here on earth and eternal life with You in heaven. Let us shout Your glad tidings of great joy to the world! In Your holy name, Amen.
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© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.