Although the Christmas season can trigger stressors in people’s lives, it still remains a time that brings many people joy. For children, it’s a joyous time because it marks the season where they impatiently wait to see what Santa and their parents will bring and buy them. For adults, the joyous feelings may be the result of a tumultuous year coming to a close and the anticipation of a better year to come; decorating the house or cooking a favorite dessert; watching “Christmas Vacation” and laughing at cousin Eddie; buying gifts for others; gathering together with family and friends and laughing at the tacky sweaters; or may be the result of singing Christmas carols for an entire month. For me, singing Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, spending time with family and friends, and giving presents to others brings joy to my life during this season. I do not know what brings you joy, but whatever it is we experience a time of joy throughout the Christmas season. But can this joy, this gladness, this deep-seeded happiness be sustained throughout the year?
All the things that I mentioned above that bring others and me joy during the holiday season are really temporary. In order to sustain our joy and gladness, we would have to find something else in January, February, March, etc. to replace what brought us joy in December. For many, that is exactly what they do. When the joys of the holidays have come and gone, they begin their search for that which brings joy. Many look for a deep happiness from work, recognition, a person, a hobby, an addiction, or friends and family. But, in the end, they simply fail to find something that brings them unlimited, unshakeable, undeniable, and unfailing joy.
Here’s the underlying principle for finding something that brings unlimited, unshakeable, undeniable, and unfailing joy: you have to find something that in and of itself is unlimited, unshakeable, undeniable, and unfailing. In other words, you have to find something that brings you joy that is permanent, secure, consistent, trustworthy, durable, unending, and never changing—something that is the same yesterday, today, and forever no matter what your environment, circumstances, or situations may be.
Now, where do you find something like that? You find it the same place the shepherds in Luke 2 found it. The angel in Luke 2 shows up to some poor, lowly shepherds while they are keeping an eye on their sheep and exclaims to them that, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Did you catch what it was that would bring great joy to the shepherds? It was the good news that a Savior, a King was born. This wasn’t just any Savior and King; this was God’s anointed Savior and King. In fact, this was God himself, the incarnate deity who is unmovable, unlimited, undeniable, unfailing, and unending.
The coming of Jesus, the incarnate deity, communicates three truths to us. First, it communicates the truth that humanity was and is so sinful, so broken, so jacked-up, so damaged, so distorted that we were and are hopeless without God. Second, it communicates the truth that God loved us so much that he was willing to come and rescue us. In his eyes, we were worth saving, worth rescuing. Third, it communicates the truth that God wants to actually live and dwell with us. In other words, he wants to have an ongoing relationship with us.
Think about how these three truths brought an unlimited, unshakeable, unmovable, undeniable, and unfailing joy in the lives of the shepherds. Truth is, the divine news didn’t change the way many viewed the shepherds or their occupation. This news didn’t win them popularity in their society. This news didn’t free them from Roman rule. This news didn’t change their socio-economic standing in the world. But what this news did for them was communicate the divine truth that although they were sinfully broken and lived in a sinfully broken world, they were objects of God’s love with whom the Sovereign, unlimited, unshakeable, unmovable, undeniable, and unfailing King of the universe came intentionally to rescue and know them.
Thus, Jesus—the ultimate purpose of the Christmas season—is that unlimited, unshakeable, undeniable, and unfailing something that one can embrace and know. And it is embracing and knowing Jesus that leads to securing joy all year round. It is Jesus that bring to one unspeakable, unprecedented, unrelenting, and unimaginable joy. The joy that Jesus brings is present no matter what your situation or circumstances are. The joy Jesus brings is present whether we are poor or rich; whether we go bankrupt or win the lottery (that’s if you play); whether we have experienced the birth of a child or the death of a loved one; whether we are despised or greatly appreciated; whether we are employed or unemployed; whether we are greatly loved or have been betrayed; whether we live in a prosperous nation or a struggling one; whether we live in a dream home or a shack; whether we have plenty or are in want; or whether we are close with our children or estranged. Embracing and knowing Jesus brings the unlimited, unshakeable, undeniable, and unfailing joy that we all desperately long for! This is why the angel said the good news of Jesus is news of “great joy.”
In closing, I pray you have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy the Christmas season. Have fun singing your favorite Christmas carols like, “O Holy Night,” watching your favorite Christmas movies like, “White Christmas,” eating your favorite Christmas snacks like, chocolate covered peanut butter balls, and spending time with your wonderfully annoying family. But remember, while all of these things are fun and bring temporary joy, only embracing and knowing the true reason for the season, Jesus Christ, is the key to unlocking, to securing joy all year round!