“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”
Matthew 2:10 (ESV)
Joy. It’s a word that really should make you smile when you say it. I’ve always thought that joy was a happy word, a bright word, a word that warms our hearts.
When we read the Christmas story, it exudes joy. In the Greek, joy (chara) means cheerfulness, gladness and calm delight. Consider the people in the Christmas story who felt joy:
- Mary praised God on the news that she would give birth to Jesus (Luke 1:46-47).
- Elizabeth exclaimed that the baby she was carrying, John the Baptist, “leaped for joy” when Mary came to see her (Luke 1:44).
- The angels greeted the shepherds with, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10, NIV).
- After seeing the baby, the shepherds rejoiced as they glorified and praised God (Luke 2:20).
- When the Magi saw the star that would lead them to Jesus, they “rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (Matthew 2:10, ESV).
When we consider the lives of the people in the Christmas story, their circumstances weren’t ideal. I’m sure Mary was afraid before she was married and then overwhelmed with the responsibility of being the mother of the Savior after Jesus was born. Elizabeth was going to have a child late in life, and her husband was not able to speak until the baby was born. Mary and Joseph struggled to find a place to stay before Jesus was born, and Mary ended up giving birth to Jesus in a barn. The shepherds were frightened at the sight of angels. The Magi traveled to find Jesus and had to lie to Herod, a powerful king. None of these circumstances were happy or pleasant, yet each one led people to Jesus and the result was joy.
Do you rely on circumstances in your life to dictate your joy?
Reread the Christmas story (Luke 1-2, Matthew 2) this week and embrace the joy that runs throughout this story.
Jesus is our joy. Going back to the Greek word for joy, chara, we find the root of this word means “awareness of God’s grace.” Jesus is God’s grace poured out for us! He is the “way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). He is our hope. He is our peace. Jesus is our Savior, and He is our joy!
Instead of a song clip this week, I would like to share a video clip with you.
Enjoy Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas.
I pray you find joy this week!