By Byron Day, BCMD President and Pastor of Emmanuel Church, Laurel
Joy to the World, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King,
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods,
rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
The Christmas seasons of late seem to lack the excitement, anticipation and overall spirit of joy that they once had in our culture. As I consider recent Christmas seasons, it appears that the festive atmosphere they once produced has all but disappeared. I see very little joy, but in its place grumbling and tolerance. I still see people pushing and shoving with merchants rushing to close year end deals. There is also the ever increasing effort to try and take Christ out of Christmas with more retailers opting for the so called politically correct happy holidays.
What concerns me more however is that even among God’s people I see very little joy. I wonder if we too have succumbed to the thought that it’s just another Christmas, a time for shopping, for gift giving, for feasting. Although we know that Christmas is really about the birth of Jesus the Savior of the world, we too have perhaps lost some of the joy of Christmas. We have gotten caught up in the tinsel and forgotten the theology, gotten caught up in the stuff and forgotten the Savior. No wonder we may have lost the joy of Christmas.
Sometimes circumstances rob us of the joy of Christmas. Perhaps we lost a loved one and we miss their presence at this time of year. Or perhaps it hasn’t been a good financial year and you find that you are unable to give as you would like. Perhaps health issues, or family issues have stolen the joy of Christmas.
I am reminded of what the Scripture says in Luke 2:10-11, Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (NKJV).
My seventh grade English teacher taught me that a noun is a person, place, or thing. In verse 10, joy is a noun. It is a thing that can be acquired and possessed. We can recapture the joy of Christmas by focusing on the same good news that those shepherds received that night long ago, that unto us is born a Savior which is Christ the Lord.
As we ponder God’s great gift of love in the person of His Son Jesus who gave His life that we might have eternal life, we can recapture the joy of Christmas. As we reflect on God’s faithfulness in sending a redeemer, as we meditate on His promises and His presence we can recapture the joy of Christmas. As we set our minds on the return of the Savior and the life to come we can recapture the joy of Christmas.