In January, each of us picked a word for the year. My word was “joy”. It has been a wonderful practice to give something particular focus, dig deep and apply the learning to everyday life.
Joy was always something that I didn’t think was as important to develop as other aspects of Christian character. But as I began my study I found that joy was as essential to my faith as love. Two great Bible teachers, RC Sproul and Jerry Bridges, both wrote very similarly about joy. To my surprise, both indicated that an absence of joy was to deny the faith.
I’ve learned this past year that joy does not depend upon my circumstances. That in life, we will always experience happy times, but also difficult times. We are imperfect people, living in a broken world. But our joy is in knowing we are loved by Christ who came to bring us the Good News that he came to rescue us and all of creation.
So this Christmas season, I wish you JOY as we celebrate the coming of our Lord.
I think the angels speaking to shepherds near Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago said it well…
“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
– Luke 2:10-14 (KJV)