Joy To The World

The Christmas season has come and gone. There’s always so much build up leading to Christmas, isn’t there? All of the parties being planned, the gifts being purchased, the traveling you’re dreading for the family gathering you can’t wait for. Of course, as Christians, it’s a time for us to celebrate the birth of the one true King. So much hope and joy! So much to look forward to! People seem so much nicer this time of year.

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Well it’s over and done. The big day was 3 days ago. And it somehow doesn’t really feel the same out in the real world, does it? Things seem to be back to normal, right back to where they were before Thanksgiving. Back to worrying about bills, jobs, daily life. Back to people being rude or grumpy out in public. Back to feeling as though the joy and hope that the holiday season brought is gone. It’s almost as if someone yanked the rug of good things right out from under your feet.

How can all of that hope and joy be over already?

Because as much as we might like to think otherwise, the holidays are just a moment. Moments come and go. The difficult moments seem to go on forever and the wonderful ones are gone so fast we almost didn’t realize they were there.

But hope and joy aren’t meant to be moments. They are meant to be a constant in our lives. If we just look at the dinner parties or the cool presents and put our hope and joy in those things, we will be disappointed the moment we leave the party or finish unwrapping that gift. The moment we start traveling back home from holidays with our families, we begin to sink back into the blah of our daily life.

If hope and joy aren’t meant to be moments, then what are they supposed to be? Jesus and the gift of His sacrifice on the cross are where our hope and joy are meant to be found. We are meant to rejoice in the fact that God was so faithful that He made a way for us to be with Him for eternity, even though we continue to sin against Him and declare ourselves unfit and unworthy of such an amazing honor. We are meant to be filled with joy that He loves us so much that He has adopted us into His kingdom, and even more importantly, into His FAMILY!

When life is beating you down and you feel like you have nothing left, Jesus is there to help lift that burden from you. He’s with you in those moments, giving you HOPE that things will get better. Hope that you will get through this difficult moment. Hope that He will always be with you, loving you so much more than you could ever know or understand.

When you are given a difficult medical diagnosis, He’s there for you to cry to. When your job is gone and you don’t know how to feed your family, He will provide. When someone you love is lost, He’s there in your mourning and grief, feeling every bit of your pain. Every hard, painful and difficult moment, Hope is right there with you if you allow Him to be.

In Luke chapter 2, beginning in verse 8, an angel of the Lord appears to some shepherds out in a field at night and he tells them “Fear not! I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” Fear not. That’s a hard thing to do when you’re not sure about your next meal or how you’re going to make it through this moment. That great joy was the announcement of the birth of Jesus! And the joy was for ALL people. Not just the Jews. He came for each and every one of us. Those who live what might be called a righteous life and those of us who do not.

Fear, grief, pain, anger. Those are all moments. You will get through each of them. It may not be quick or easy, but you’ll get through them. Especially when you have the joy that King Jesus hand delivers to you.

It’s incredibly easy for us in our moments to forget about what Jesus did for us. It’s easy for us to feel so much heaviness that we forget that He lifts that burden and gives us a yoke that is light. We get so lost in the difficulty of the moment that we don’t feel His presence. But when we allow ourselves to, there is a joy that He has placed in our hearts that help to lift us from the deepest, darkest holes that we may fall into. That joy isn’t just a moment, it’s a part of our life. It’s a gift that He has given us.

We long for a light at the end of the tunnel. We so desperately search for a way through the darkness and muck of life. We have hope and joy in Jesus. He is the Light. He is the Way.

We have the HOPE of salvation because of God loved us so much that He gave us Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice to save our souls. There is JOY in our hearts that our God is so amazing that He wants to be with us, not just have us bow down before Him.

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