I think we all strive to be happy. Everywhere I look, people are offering something that will finally make me happy. A lot of the things that were unwrapped yesterday made us happy, but no matter how good those gifts are, their ability to make us happy will fade. Staying happy is like trying to stand up a piece of paper on a table. It takes constant tending in order to keep it upright. Happiness is like that. It’s achievable but not lasting.
But the Christmas story, which is a human story, a miraculous story, and personal story, is also a story that brings great joy. Unlike happiness, joy isn’t rooted in our circumstances. It’s rooted in the hope that is offered at Christmas through Jesus. With great hope comes great joy. That idea that we know something great is in our future brings incredible joy. Jesus makes it clear that not only will we spend eternity with Him, He’s also coming back.
I have a tough time sometimes wrapping my mind around that truth. I know it’s true, but I tend to focus more on the here and now. And in the here and now, I have kids who want to eat three times a day and need clean clothes. I have responsibilities with my writing and in my day to day that crowd out that message and in that busyness, I forget the promises of Jesus. And over time, my joy diminishes. I’m not thinking about eternity with Jesus because I’m frustrated that my dishwasher is broken or my kids aren’t listening or I forgot to buy milk. The next thing I know, I’m sitting in dispair over things that really don’t matter all that much. So, I chase happy. I buy something or binge a show or eat something and in the end I feel just as empty as I was before. The piece of paper falls to the ground.
But there is something that brings joy and that’s the Christmas story. Isn’t that why we celebrate things? To remember. Jesus’s birth is about so much more than a holiday, but the holiday causes us to remember what he did on this earth for us. So we celebrate it. We’re reminded of that joy so when we’re getting weary chasing happiness we remember we have a source of lasting joy what will never run out.
The Christmas story is so many things. It’s a human story. Real humans encountered a real God in their daily lives. It’s a miraculous story. If Jesus wasn’t God, he could have never have fulfilled all the prophecies and we wouldn’t still be remembering his birth. It’s a personal story because He came for you and me so we could know Him and the Father. And it’s a story of joy because we get to spend eternity in his presence. Take a minute and say that out loud. “I get to spend eternity in the presence of Jesus.” If that doesn’t give you joy, I don’t know what will.
“Joy to the world. The Lord has come. Let Earth receive her king!”