Do you believe joy is a great gift for this Christmas season, for any season? John 15:11 tells the good news — joy is a gift from God; He gives joy so our joy is complete. Are you joyful or joyless? Is your joy complete? How can we know if we’re living and loving with joy? It’s in our hearts, heaping helpings that fill our hearts to overflowing.
Christmas time, in all its splendor, magnifies joy. Each person reading this story sings “Joy to the World” without missing a beat. The songwriter penned the words; God sent the gift. The words convey deep meaning, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let earth receive her King. Let every heart, prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing. He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove, the glories of His righteousness, and wonders of His love.”
These words are a reminder of how the Lord brought joy that first Christmas. Angels proclaimed joy from the heavens, shepherds from the fields. Wisemen from afar traveled to bring precious gifts and behold the perfect Gift from God. Mary and Joseph’s hearts were filled with joy when they welcomed the Christ Child in a lowly stable with smelly animals, itchy hay, and divine connections that would protect and guide them and the Son sent to save the world.
God desires for all His children to be filled with joy. Yet, the choice to be joyful and jolly or pitiful and puny is ours. Mary and Joseph had plenty of reasons to plunge into pity. Being chastised by family and friends, ready to stone Mary instead of stand by her, surely broke her heart. People they loved and trusted took the joy from this couple. A young, innocent, believing couple chosen by God as earthly parents for His Son. You’re probably thinking of times your joy has been stolen by loved ones too. God also sends gifts of healing for our broken hearts and forgiveness for those who break them.
Riding a donkey, with child, to a land far away from home was tiring, uncomfortable, and less than joyful. Imagine the pressure on this engaged couple as they faced one trial after another trying to do what was right and good. Facing the first stages of labor didn’t find them in a comfortable birthing room. Instead, they settled down in a lowly stable to share the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ. They made choices that kept them in God’s will, being obedient and offering their best even in the worst of times. His gift was the same then as it is today…Joy!
We face situations when we are forced to make decisions as did Mary and Joseph. It’s our choice to follow what God speaks to our hearts or to ignore and do as we please. Choosing to walk in faith, trusting and obeying, is pleasing to God and gives divine connection to blessings and protection.
John 15:10 explains that Jesus ties joy to obedience. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says that we should always be joyful. If we don’t chose to be joyful; we won’t. Philemon 4:4 reminds us to rejoice in the Lord. Colossians 1:10-12 encourages us to please the Lord in every way: bear fruit in every good work, grow in the knowledge of God, and joyfully give thanks to the Lord.
Decide and determine to be joyful. When we’re full of God; we’re full of joy.
Make the choice for your Christmas to be filled with joy. Keep God first in all things and everything else will fall into place. Show Him He is Lord of your life; share His love and joy wherever you go. Sing Joy to the World with renewed meaning. Stay closely connected to The Lord and your loved ones, and have yourself a merry little Christmas.