Christmas is all about joy! We all need some joy in our lives during this cold, gloomy, dark time of year in the Northern Hemisphere. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Christmas falls close to the Winter Solstice, the day that has the fewest hours of sunlight and the most hours of darkness. I, for one, am certainly affected by having less light--and I love having the Christmas signs of light and joy offsetting the darkness.
Joy is a deeper emotion than happiness. Happiness passes away quickly but joy does not. Joy stays with you and helps you through life’s hard times.
Now joy isn’t meant to be kept just to yourself, right? Christmas is all about gathering the people you love around you, family and friends. One of my favorite modern Christmas songs is by Paul McCartney, “Wonderful Christmastime.” The opening lyrics are:
The spirits up
We're here tonight
And that's enough
Simply havin' a wonderful Christmastime
This speaks to me of Christmas joy that comes from gathering people together to celebrate! When you strip away all the food and gifts, you are left with being in people’s company--and that is enough.
We know that Christmas joy originates from Jesus’ birth, of course! But I like to think of Christmas as a worldwide birthday party for Jesus! We know that when a loved baby is born there is so much joy amongst the family and friends, that this child’s birthday is a celebration of joy year after year. So too was it for Jesus’ birth: the shepherds were treated to a heavenly burst of joy-filled music:
"And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this is the sign unto you: Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among all in whom he is well pleased." - Luke 2:10-14
I think Jesus holds the record for the most birthday parties ever, 2021 of them! This Christmas, don’t forget to wish Jesus a Happy Birthday and notice how His birth is spreading a whole lot of joy around the world, through every time zone!