And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, 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.”
When I think of Christmas, I often think of the joy of the season, my family, and good food and fellowship. Some of the most popular Christmas songs mention joy, such as “Joy to the World” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” Others are about home and family, such as “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “The Christmas Song,” and “(There's No Place Like) Home For The Holidays.” However, the Christmas season is only temporary, beginning in late November with Thanksgiving and ending in early January with New Year's Day or Epiphany.
It is important during this time to keep in mind the difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is an emotion that comes and goes, as it is based on our changing circumstances. When life is going our way, it’s easy to feel happy, but when situations don’t go as planned, we often find ourselves unhappy, discouraged, or angry. The year 2020 has largely been an unhappy year because of the pandemic, but this will be temporary. Joy, on the other hand, is a choice. When we choose joy, we can have a joyful heart in even the most challenging of circumstances. We put on a brave face, no matter the circumstances, but that is not always the easiest thing to do. However, when we find our joy in Christ, He will provide us with the strength we need to live joyfully. If we follow Christ’s example, we will find infinite joy in helping others, especially those who need it the most.
So how can we embrace the spirit of joy this Christmas? While material things can bring happiness, they cannot bring us joy. So, while exchanging gifts is a great way to show love, it’s important to remember that gifts alone cannot bring us real joy. So, rather than focusing on the presents underneath the tree, cherish the time spent with your loved ones.
In addition, Christmas is a great time to give back to the community and help those in need. When we serve others and show them love, we reflect Christ. Acts 20:35 says:
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Ultimately, serving others can bring us joy. This holiday season, I encourage all of us to embrace the spirit of joy. Remember that by keeping Christ at the center of all of our celebrations, we can experience real joy and understand the reason for the season.