There are many things we argue about as Americans, from politics to child rearing, but one of the biggest arguments of all has to be when it is socially acceptable to bust out the Christmas decorations. For some people (or stores), July is the perfect time to get into the Christmas spirit. For others, anytime in November is great. Or the day after thanksgiving. For me, the Christmas tree isn’t decorated and stockings aren’t hung until the 1st of December. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas time. Everything sparkles a little more than usual, people are kinder to each other, and of course, we get to celebrate the joy of the birth of our Savior. Joy is a huge deal around Christmas. After all, there’s always so much to celebrate. There’s lots of songs about joy during Christmas time. The season just radiates light and joy.
But what happens to this joy on December 26? Do we pack it away with our Christmas decorations, and leave it to collect dust with the rest of our Christmas spirit until our chosen Christmas decorating day? It often feels that way these days. Depending on your version, the word Joy appears 155 times in the Bible. Joy was obviously something that God wanted for us, and a very important part of our lives. Joy isn’t something we find in the twinkling lights, the gifts under the tree, or the carols we sing this time of year. The overwhelming joy of the season comes from the knowledge that the birth we celebrate this time of year was the beginning of the end. The end of our separation from God, and a renewal of the bond between ourselves and God. Psalm 71:23 reads, “My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to you- I whom you have delivered.” We are joyous because we have been delivered from our transgressions! That isn’t something we need a Christmas tree to be excited about! We can feel this joy throughout the year by spending time in the Word, continuing our acts of kindness throughout the year, and finding peace in the fact that we are saved by a God that came to dwell among His people and suffer for their sins. We find joy in the remembrance that the little baby with such humble beginnings would be the powerful end to the greatest story of all.
So this year, I encourage you to celebrate what this season is really about long after the lights are taken down, and the garbage men have hauled the remnants of gift boxes and wrapping paper away. When you find yourself needing a reminder of joy, maybe check out one of those 155 times joy is mentioned in the Bible, and keep that CHRISTmas feeling going all year long. If that’s a little much for you, there’s one verse you can keep in mind for every day, “This is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”