Long ago on that very first Christmas Day, an angel declared a special birth announcement from the sky above Bethlehem.
“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; Luke 2:10
The manger birth of this small boy was a gift of great joy!
And joy bubbles up at every turn in the Christmas story. Zechariah was told he would have joy and gladness, and that many would rejoice at the birth of his son, John. (Luke 1:14) That same son did a happy dance while still in utero. (Luke 1:44) Mary rejoiced in God her Savior. (Luke 1:47)
Isn’t joy the most enjoyable emotion? Joy echoes in rounds of belly laughter. It makes your cheeks ache in the most delightful way. Joy is hard to contain which is both good and bad. Life happens and joy seeps out of our containers. The bubbling well runs dry. We take ourselves, our lives and everything in it all too seriously.
When Christmas comes around, we catch a glimpse of this great joy in the reckless anticipation of a child. We see joy on faces in family photos. Lights twinkle joy in a rainbow of color. Our hearts long to feel the joy of the season soaking up and quenching our deepest thirst.
We may try to slake our thirst in pleasure, in parties, in presents.
But joy is an inside job.
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Matthew 13:44
We will never find joy at Christmas unless we first find it in Jesus.
Through Jesus, we find the joy in everything – work, play, rest, family, friends and Christmas.
Joy isn’t found only in presents, it’s found in presence.
David the poet, king put it this way, “In your presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11)
Matthew the tax-collector, cheat turned kingdom follower tells us that’s what Christmas is all about,
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel, which means God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)