Season of Joy

 

Meaning of ChristmasI write this on a quiet Christmas.

My loved ones are far away, yet I still find myself almost giddy with joy. I do feel blessed to have the love of family and friends. I have a home, a job, and all my needs are taken care of.  All this makes me happy. But I feel such an overwhelmingly deep joy that can’t compare to anything else in life, that I’d be a fool not to share it with others and let you know how to have it too. Christmas is a great reminder of the source of my joy.

I tend to analyze and over think everything and put fact before feeling. I’m ‘the glass is half empty’ person and have to work at looking to the positive. But this joy I’ve found is bigger and truer than emotions and it comes up to the surface bubbling over any simmering everyday feelings I have.

Such JOY!

I’m not talking about the mood of happiness but a solid joy that never leaves me even in my darkest moments. This deep and lasting joy can only be from the source of life, the Creator because no person, pastime, pleasure or project in my life equals this holy joy. Nobody. Nothing. It’s too powerful to be from this earth.

I am not talking about any religion or church. What I’m talking about here is not anything man-made.

To be honest, in my 60 years of life I have embraced it then ignored it, pulled it back to me, then pushed it to the side, hung onto it tightly, then looked away only to grab it as my own again. Every time I come back to what I know is real and right it confounds me how I could wander off. Words don’t even begin to express how much of an impact this has made in my life and who I am. 

I guess I just did it. I just looked at the baby Christ child in the manger and refused to accept him as a holiday decoration or church tradition or the birth of some great enlightened man. Something about this baby intrigued me like nothing else. Even as a youngster the manger scene drew me in. That’s another beauty of it all, how simple and attainable this joy is that the Christmas story shows us.

For those in doubt, I could toss around the apologetics here. I could go on and on about the historical facts of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection or how science lines up perfectly with the star in the east the three wise men followed, and quote Bible verses, but I’m not going that route. It’s too easy. A little research goes a long way. I say take the time to ask and listen then the truth will melt over any doubts. Start by reading the books of Luke and John in the New Testament. You seek, you’ll find. I still have questions but none that will keep me away from what I’ve learned and experienced. 

When I open my heart to allow the unseen to be my reality and let this truth dwell in me, I experience this supernatural joy. It’s fantastic. You couldn’t make this stuff up. I mean, really think about it. Look at this Christ child. Look at the whole situation. God came to earth in the form of a fragile baby with the purpose of our reconciliation back to Him. This Jesus would pay for our unholiness by his death, he’d rise from the dead and teach us how to live in communion with our Creator. It’s absolutely amazing and here it’s at our fingertips if we want to embrace this Christ child for who he said he is, which is God with us. This relationship with the Almighty is for anyone. Free. No need to walk inside a church or go through any ritual or belong to a group.

So why am I filled with such a deep joy? Because I hold tight to the message and meaning of the manger. I look at Jesus and I find forgiveness of my sin and shame, access to mercy and grace. The Father loves me as I am, giving direction and purpose in life and the promise of a perfect eternal life after this one. Powerful! If that doesn’t urge you to look into Jesus, then you’re not doing yourself any favors, and you’re missing out on the true meaning of Christmas…and of life. This joy can be yours if you want, and the joy Jesus gives can’t be taken away from you. You ask for it. He gives it to you. 

It doesn’t mean you walk around with a permanent smile and everything in your life is rainbows and roses. Life has too many ups and downs to be in continuously on top of the world. That is not promised to anyone. This joy is from the core. Things happening around us can’t touch it, no matter how we are feeling.

That’s why I can be joyful this Christmas, tomorrow and into next year. Life will bring its pain and trouble and happy days will come and go, but the joy Christ alone brings is powerful and gives strength on good days and bad days.

What a gift this joy is, that Jesus came to give everyone!