At this time of year when I think of joy I think of the Christmas songs. Lyrics like joy to the world, be of good cheer, and tidings of comfort and joy. Christmas can be such an inspirational and joyous time because of the good news it represents.
Joy to the world the Lord has come
Let earth receive her King.
There is much in life to be joyous about, but there is also much pain and suffering. Some sad lives never seem to have any reason for joy and others are so short lived that one wonders how that life could have ever known joy. Earlier this year I lost my job in a layoff. I knew well in advance that I was going to be fired. Being in management I saw the financial stress and I knew based on the questions and information being collected by leadership they were deciding who would stay and who would go. I trust God for my daily bread yet it was still stressful and unpleasant. I found nothing joyful there. In the aftermath while searching for a new job I was frustrated with God because I was not hearing back from any of my applications. When I did hear back I would be ecstatic and joyful. In between one of these highs and lows the Holy Spirit asked me a question. In what is your joy found? Is your joy found in a job? Or the Holy Spirit asked me “might your joy be found in Christ your savior?” What a humbling moment. Jesus, my joy is found in Jesus. Christ only always. My life, my finances, and my well being are not a source of joy. My joy is found in the things of God. Like the best of Christmas music points out the wise men at the birth of Jesus were filled with joy because of the Birth of a savior.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:10-11 ESV
Joy is a powerful emotion. Finding joy in the hardships of life is a gift. God is the source of joy. Hedonism and chasing after self will not bring lasting joy. I was chasing after a job and in wins and losses of that pursuit joy became elusive. It is not a surprise to me that as the culture runs from the source of joy to pursue the gods of Hollywood and government that depression seems to grow and the disorder tragically hits hard among children who then see no hope and no future. How we all need the truth of Christmas.
25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26 For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 2:25-26 ESV
Christmas the most wonderful time of the year is upon the earth. An annual reminder of the joy that all peoples of all the earth might have if they put their faith and trust in the source of joy. To you the reader I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.
23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ Matthew 25:23 ESV