You see the message everywhere…billboards, television, shops, malls, front yards, newspapers, magazines…it’s the most wonderful time of the year!!
Feel the joy!
Joy to the World rings out from the radio, church choirs, elevators, carolers, and the speakers of every store you enter.
Is that real joy?
Start your list of shopping, baking, decorating, letter writing, card signing, party prep, volunteering, donating, caroling, gift wrapping and spreading of good cheer.
Where’s the joy?
Prepare for the relatives, for Santa’s visit, stuff the stocking, calm the children, fix the meals, settle the arguments, diffuse the tension, set the perfect table, be seen at the right gatherings, and deal with the dissatisfaction.
There is no joy.
Swept up in the chaos of Christmas. Missing the joy of the season. The world eagerly steals our joy as we stretch and strive to meet and exceed all the expectations around us.
Can we find joy?
The Psalmist had some insight throughout the Psalms. When he spoke to God in Psalm 5:11 we read, “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name rejoice in you.”
In the rush of December and throughout the year, our God will protect us. Loving God leads to rejoicing as he protects us from all that’s drawing us into the world.
Yet we want to meet the Christmas challenge head on, taking charge of all that is around us. We sleep less, we read our Bible less, we eat more, spend more and do so in the name of “holiday cheer”.
We have a choice. Push ahead and force our way through, determined that we’ll get things right again in January. It’s Jesus’ birthday after all. It’s the key event to our Christian faith. It’s the least we can do is to be of service to him and others, right?
Or we can slow down and seek the presence of Jesus, knowing we will be right with Jesus now.
Let's change our mindset to celebrating the birth of Christ with Christ at the center. Drop the desire to meet all the world’s expectations. This is the service he wants from us. He just wants us.
Maybe it is a radical change in thought process. It may be uncomfortable at first. But as we spend time focusing on his presence we will find more than joy. We will find peace, be filled with love, and know Jesus more fully.
When we find Jesus is all we have, we will find Jesus is all we need knowing the best is yet to come!
And that is the Joy of Christmas