(This is a revision of a post from December 2019. You can read the original post here.)
The theme for the third week of Advent is Joy. For many, this Christmas will be joyful because we can be with our families in a way we weren’t able to in 2020. This year the hugs will be will be frequent and lingering. We’ll experience the joy of seeing the delight in the faces of children or grandchildren opening presents. Once again we’ll share stories, food, and laughter.
But for others, the joy of the season is hard to find. The reasons are numerous. Maybe you have lost someone you love this year? A spouse, parent, child, dear friend? Will your holiday celebrations look different because of divorce or illness? Do you think that you’ll just skip this Christmas because it’s just too hard?
I encourage you to take your pain and sadness and lay it at God’s feet. Ask Him to help you feel joy during the holidays, if not for yourself, then for others who count on you.
The prophet Habakkuk lived in a time of captivity, drought, and misery. Yet he was able to be joyful in the hope that God would rescue the Israelites in due time.
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
Habakkuk 3:17-18 NIV
Joy may not come easy this year. But no matter our circumstances, we can rejoice in the birth of a tiny baby, born to deliver us from the evil of this world. We rejoice that the baby Jesus grew up and suffered death on a cross to pay our ransom and is now seated at the right hand of God.
We know that joy can be ours because we believe in the one and only Son of God, who loves us so very much and is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
We rejoice in knowing that we will someday see our glorious Savior in eternity, along with those we have lost who put their trust in Jesus.
And that is what the Joy of Christmas is all about.
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Luke 2:10-11 NIV