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The Joy of Christmas

Jan 3, 2024

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.’” (Luke 2:10,11)
I’m not a particularly “joyful” person. Those who know me well would probably describe me as being on the melancholy side of the spectrum. It’s just a personality thing. I’m certainly “joy-filled”; I have inside of me “a spring of water welling up to eternal life,” just as Jesus described it, and that spring definitely sustains me. But I have often been convicted about not showing my joy a little bit more. Surely the joy in my heart should make its way up to my face more often than it does.
Remember, we believers have been commanded to be joyful. Paul reminded us of this fact quite often, like in the oft-cited Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” I noticed recently that even back in Deuteronomy when Moses was reminding the Israelites to love and fear the Lord, he commanded the people to take joy in all of their undertakings because God had blessed them with life and freedom (Deuteronomy 12:7). I never remembered having read that verse before, so it printed off and hung it in my office as a reminder.
Christmas is a special blessing when it comes to joy, because if ever there was a motivation for rejoicing, it is the incarnation. As C.S. Lewis rightly noted, “The central miracle asserted by Christians is the incarnation. They say that God became man. Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this.” It was the incarnation that made our salvation possible. Without it, we would still be lost in darkness. Because of it, we have found redemption and look forward to Christ’s return with eager anticipation. Because of it, we have true joy.
So, this Christmas, let’s focus on the meaning of the incarnation until the joy in our hearts makes its way to our faces, to our voices, and even to our feet! Christ has brought us great news that causes great joy for ALL the people. Even for us melancholy types.
Written by Bartley Sawatsky. Bartley served as the Charis Fellowship executive director from 2013–2016. He is lead pastor at Renew Church in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

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