• Timothy Jemly

Rediscover the Joy of Christmas

There is a song that says “Christmas is the Happiest season of all.” But for many people, Christmas seems to be the saddest season. The suicide rate at Christmas time is much higher than the rest of the year. Many people suffer from depression at this time of year. For those people, the joyful revelers who happily sing Christmas songs can seem shallow and annoying. But the angel said Jesus’ birth would bring joy to all people. So if you don’t have the Christmas joy what’s the problem? Maybe there was a time in your life when Christmas was wonderful, magical, fun and exciting. You looked forward to it with great anticipation, and now it just seems like a chore and it’s depressing to see other people seemingly so happy. Maybe you’re singing the song “Where are you Christmas, why can’t I find you? Why have you gone away?”

Gallup did a survey of people about how they felt about Christmas. What they found was.

Younger adults are more likely than older adults to describe it in positive terms. 61% of 18-29-year-olds say it’s the best time of year or a great time. Among those 30-49 it’s 54%, with the 50-64 set it’s 45% and just 38% for those 65 and older.

I believe that the problem is that many people have found happiness at Christmas but have never experienced the true Joy of Christmas. Let me explain. The word happiness come from the same root word as happenstance. It’s rooted in our circumstances. When good things happen in our lives, we feel happy. So when you were a child and got time off of school, you got to see relatives you don’t see that often, and spend more time with your family, ate all these wonderful desserts and you got all these presents of course you felt happy and loved Christmas.

But as you have gotten older, maybe Christmas has gotten more stressful than your everyday life, not less. Maybe, you are alone for the holidays and feel like no one cares, maybe you’ve received no presents for Christmas, maybe you would like to give and help others but you are broke and can’t find enough to take care of yourself never mind anyone else. So because your circumstances have changed, the joy of Christmas isn’t there for you.

But if that is the case, then I am going to suggest that you haven’t really experienced the joy of Christmas. You have only experienced happiness. Happiness is based on your circumstances, so when your circumstances change, so does your level of happiness. But joy isn’t based on your circumstances. In fact, you can be joyful despite terrible circumstances.

I know this is possible because 1 Thess. 5:16 commands us to be joyful always. James 1:2 is even more specific, it tells us to: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”

God never asks us to do something without also providing a way for us to do it. So God provides the Joy. In fact, Jesus in His last prayer before He left earth said this… “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy.” (John 17:13) and in

John 15:10-12 Jesus said: “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

Galatians 5:22 lists the fruits of the Spirit, and one of those is Joy. In other words, one of the results of having the Spirit living in you is Joy. When Jesus came to earth there was no place for Him in the Inn. But that story is still being repeated today. Jesus wants to live in each of our hearts, but many of us have hearts that are too full of other things. We need to clear some things out to make room for Him. When He moves in He brings joy and peace with Him. I pray that each of you will find the time to connect with Him this season, and let Him clear all the junk out of your heart so there is room for Him and all the fruits of the Spirit he wants to bring.

When Jesus came to this earth there was no place for Him in the Inn (guest house (explain)) but that story is still being repeated today. Jesus wants to be born in your heart. He wants His new life to begin in you. But He doesn’t want to be relegated to the stable of your heart. He wants to reign in your heart. You see when Jesus reigns in your heart. You will find the greatest Joy you could ever imagine.

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