“JOY TO THE WORLD, THE LORD IS COME”
That is one of my favourite Christmas carols, especially when song by a full choir and accompanied by an orchestra.
The third week of Advent is regarded by some churches as the week of “joy”.
Isn’t it strange, that at a special time of year when we should be experiencing joy, it is instead being called one of the most stressful times of year? Statistics show that the number of people suffering depression seems to increase at this time of year.
Shakespeare wrote the following phrase in Hamlet, “there is something rotten in the state of Denmark”. I say, “something is rotten in the state of Christmas”! Could it be that we have lost the real meaning of Christmas?? Could it be that the real meaning has been buried under a growing mountain of commercialism, consumerism, materialism and just plain greed?
Rom 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
The Greek word most often translated as “joy” in the NT also means cheerfulness, delight, and gladness. HO-HO-HO! Unfortunately, what we often experience, either in ourselves or in others is frustration, short-temperedness (is that even a word?), rudeness, greed and selfishness. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can lead to depression. Definitely NOT joyful!
We need to get back to the “joy”fullness of the Christmas season. We need to experience the “cheerfulness”, “delight” and “gladness” that this season was meant to bring us. We need to go back to the true meaning of Christmas.
The true meaning of Christmas is not decorations and food and presents. The true meaning of Christmas is the gift of God’s only begotten son, Jesus. The news of Jesus’ birth should bring us great joy. Even the unborn baby, who was to become John the Baptist, leaped for joy in his mother’s womb when the unborn baby Jesus came near as his mother, Mary approached Elizabeth!
Luk 1:44 For lo, as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
If an unborn child can recognize the gift of Jesus and be filled with joy, surely we should also recognize the gift and be filled with joy?
Mat 18:4 Therefore whoever shall humble himself like this little child, this one is the greater in the kingdom of Heaven.
Simple shepherds were given a message of great joy:
Luk 2:8-11 And in the same country there were shepherds living in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came on them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. And they were grievously afraid. And the angel said to them, Do not fear. For behold, I give to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For to you is born today, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Notice that the angel said that the “joy” was to be for all people. And the reason for that joy (cheerfulness, delight, gladness) is in this simple statement: ” For to you is born today, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “
Our joy, true joy, is not to be found in decorations, food or presents under the tree. Our joy is to be found in the gift of Jesus Christ. Do you need to re-align your “joy” compass? Point it at Jesus, who is the real reason for this season.
Joh 15:11 I have spoken these things to you so that My joy might remain in you and your joy might be full.
This is my prayer for you, not only for this Christmas season, but for all year through:
Rom 15:13 And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.