But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:10
We’ve spent days now with tidings of great joy stringing lights, hanging garlands, and decorating trees while we’ve been preparing our hearts for the annual celebration that illuminates history and informs the future. Has “Joy to the World” been your experience this Christmas season? Or has it been more like, “Thank God this year is over and done. I’m ready to move on.”
Whatever our personal reality has been, good or ill, St. Paul encourages us to forget the past and press on to our future in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:13). The victories of the past year are over and done while the griefs and failures must be treasured for God’s presence and grace through it all. We press on meditating on that searching question, “What brings me joy?” Is it material or is it relational? Is it external or is it indwelling? Is it temporal or is it eternal?
I am challenged to take the message we’ve sung for weeks now, “Joy to the World,” and translate it into everyday, ongoing reality despite weather, politics, intrigues, turmoil, and anything else life can hand us. Isaiah (55:12) gives us a great starting point,
“For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”
Going into this New Year, we can choose to open each day and each going out with God’s Joy. Our obedience is an invitation to him to renew our minds and transform our behaviors so that more and more we reflect him who was anointed with joy more than his companions (Heb.1:9). The Christmas season is almost over, but the joy shouldn’t end.
What brings you joy?
Father, thank you for giving us everlasting joy. Help us to choose to activate it in our lives. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.