Joy to the World! We hear that Christmas carol in stores, on the radio, at churches, but do we hear it in our hearts this Christmas season?
We get so caught up in the stuff of Christmas that we don't pay much attention to the simplicity of Christmas. Parties, presents, decorations, cookies, gingerbread houses, lights, obligatory fruitcakes....Christmas has become a distraction that fuels depression more than anything. Yet, the joy of Christmas started when a young pregnant virgin visited her elderly pregnant cousin and called out her name, "Elizabeth!"
"When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit....As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy," [Luke 1:41, 44].
The prenatal John the Baptist heard Mary's greeting and did a somersault in joy as his mother was filled with the Holy Spirit. Do we still feel that way about Christmas? Or have we become so jaded by the tinsel and toil that we forget just how simple Christmas is? For it is truly as simple as this complex thought:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.," [John 3:16].
We need to re-connect with the joy of Christmas, which is not found in any store, or at any party, nor in a gingerbread house. It is found simply in our hearts -- if -- and only if -- Jesus has already taken up residence in there through accepting Him as Savior. Salvation through Jesus Christ is the only way to truly have the joy of Christmas, for it is then that we experience this incredible fact: Only Jesus can sand off the rough-hewn boards of our own mangers, covered in sin, and make something incredible: new creations, fit for His service, with joy in our hearts.
Christmas joy is anchored in salvation. He came to this earth as a helpless baby to grow up and die for us, just so we can be reconciled back to the Father. How can we not have joy in our souls knowing that Jesus has washed us, whiter than snow, and made us free from sin? How can we not have joy in our salvation knowing that Jesus knows our names and has written them in His Book of Life?
"Come," wrote the psalmist in Psalm 95:1, "Let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation."
Christmas joy is joy unhindered, that should make us want to do somersaults and cartwheels and praise God from the highest rooftops! Jesus, Immanuel, God with us! Jesus, Prince of Peace, here to give us peace! Jesus, Savior, Light of the world!
Reflect on Luke 1:46-56. Write down everything Mary said God has done.
Now, write down everything God has done in your life. Reflect on the current status of joy in your life, and if you need to, pray that God will give you the joy of your salvation.
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