For when Christmas Joy is hard to find

All around us, there is evidence of Christmas cheer.

The lights. The decorations.

The gifts. The wrapping paper.

The food. The parties. The family gatherings.

The abundance of people enjoying each other.

We Proclaim, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”

All these things are wonderful. All of them amazing.

Yet, some don’t always “feel” that excitement.

Some are lonely.

Some are living far away from their families.

Some have no money to buy gifts.

Some will be facing their first Christmas without a loved one.

Some will be facing yet another reminder that their loved one is gone.

Some are just going through the motions because they believe that’s what expected of them.

Some carry guilt that they can’t do all that they’d like.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of the things above, they are not the things that bring real Joy.

Receiving the perfect gift doesn’t bring Joy.

In the same way, not receiving the perfect gift doesn’t dictate your joy level.

Psalm 28:7 (NIV) The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him. He helps me and my heart is filled with joy.

Here we see that joy doesn’t come from us. It comes from the Lord.

James 1:2-3 (NKJV) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

It’s interesting that the writer of James, an apostle of Jesus actually says to count it all joy when we face trials.

Sounds to me like joy doesn’t depend on having everything we want. It doesn’t depend on everything going perfectly for us.

Maybe your joy level is suffering this Christmas season.

Maybe you’ve lost someone close to you this year.

Maybe you feel less than because your Christmas will be small this year.

Remember real joy comes from Christ.

He is the giver of every good and perfect gift.

James 1:17 (NIV) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

After all, Christmas isn’t really about the gifts.

It isn’t really about the wrapping paper.

The parties.

The food.

The family gatherings.

Or even the church services.

It’s about Christ.

The Perfect Gift.

His birth 2,000 years ago was just the beginning of our redemption.

If he hadn’t been born as a human baby, you and I would not have had the opportunity to spend eternity with God in heaven.

This Christmas you may be hurting.

You may be in pain.

Remember Christ, the Perfect Gift.

Lean on him. He is the giver of Real Joy.

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