Why is Christmas such a joyful season?
Despite the busyness and commercialism of Christmas, why do so many of us love this time of year? It isn’t just the white lights that beautifully line the shopping avenues. Or the seasonal music dancing from the radio. Or the delightful chocolate-peppermint flavors of candy, creamer, and milkshakes that briefly appear in stores and restaurants, before vanishing for the rest of the year.
It is the presence of joy. Deep, expansive wonder. For a few precious weeks in December, real life holds its breath and a sense of heavenly glory invades the world.
We celebrate Jesus coming to Earth. We celebrate something that can never be taken away from those who follow Him: We are and will be living in the presence of our Savior forever!
Which begs the question: Why is Christmas such a unique season? Shouldn’t our “real life” be lived in that sort of glorious joy? And yet it is so easy for our wonder, delight, and gladness to vanish as quickly as the chocolate-peppermint milkshakes. Especially in times of trial, when worry and irritation come so naturally instead.
Good news of great joy for all people.
Yes, life can be very “real” at times. But so is the God who has invaded our world! In Him, we are no longer captive to our circumstances. We can be forgiven of the selfishness that infects every human heart. We can know that at the moment we step out of this world, we will be running into the loving arms of the One who created us, the One who came as a baby two thousand years ago—and of whom the angels shouted and sang. Their words have two meanings: that the news of His birth was joyous, and that He was born with the purpose of bringing us joy.
If our God wants us to live in that sort of delight, year-round, how can we do that? What would that look like?
It would mean we would have to really grasp His awe and majesty. It would mean noticing, remembering, and being grateful for all the wondrous things He does for us every day, rather than focusing on our very real challenges and worries. It would mean coming to hear Him, know Him, and trust Him even during insecurity, heartache, loneliness, or struggle. And it would mean letting that joy within us shine out for all to see, multiplying it even as we give it away.
How to do all of that can be found in both science and scripture—and practicing it is actually the purpose of my devotional Find Joy. It’s a journey worth taking any time of the year, but one that can especially touch hearts—and change lives—as we are attuned to the astounding reality of Emmanuel: God with us.
No matter where we are in our own seasons, and no matter what is going on in our lives, let’s ask God to permanently invade our hearts with Christmas wonder—and declare that we want to be both recipients and givers of His great joy.
This blog is an excerpt from Shaunti Feldhahn’s most recent devotional, Find Joy: A Devotional Journey to Unshakable Wonder in an Uncertain World from iDisciple Publishing
This article was also published at Patheos.
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