Joy to the World?

By Not Known

It’s easy to be joyful at this season. There are holidays, the streets are brightly lit, greetings and gifts are exchanged and parties are held.

It’s worth examining this joy. Where is our joy located? What is the occasion of our joy?

Where is our joy located? There’s a joy in the body as we rest, eat and drink. There’s a joy in our emotions as we hear stirring music and see dazzling sights. But all this is rather superficial. Consider Mary, who says that she rejoiced in her soul. We especially need to watch that emotional joy does not substitute for joy of the soul.

What are we joyful at ? Mary, Zechariah, the shepherds, Simeon and Anna are our teachers. In human terms they had few causes for joy. But they were joyful. Their joy was in the Lord and what he had done.

Mary rejoices in God ‘my Saviour‘ who has done great things for her (Luke 1: 46- 55). These great things were to show mercy by keeping his promises to Israel. Zechariah rejoices in similar terms (Luke 1: 69- 79). God has come and redeemed, by raising up a ‘horn of salvation‘ as a deed of mercy that fulfils his covenant and rescues his people. Simeon rejoiced in God’s salvation which was for Jew and Gentiles alike (Luke 2: 28- 33). Aged Anna, whose life had been a long misery, gave thanks to God and spoke of the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2: 36- 38).

Here’s a test for us. Imaging a Christmas bereft of holidays, gifts, parties, music or people. Would you still have Christmas Joy if all you had was the news that the Christ has come to save?

In actual fact, there are members of our church family who will have such a bereft Christmas (let alone people elsewhere). Let us be mindful of them, sharing what joy we can and praying that they will the joy of Christ. And let us examine our own Christmas joy to ensure that it is the joy of the soul and joy at the Lord’s Saviour.

Finally, Let’s do our best to share the news of God’s salvation with those who are not yet Christian, that they too may share the joy of Jesus.