Our Bible verse for today: ‘Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “The end result of celebration should be joy.”
One of my favorite Christmas songs isn’t really a Christmas song at all. It’s the old Baptist Hymn “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” The first stanza goes like this:
“Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, Opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, Fill us with the light of day!”
As I said, it’s not a Christmas song but it probably should be. It’s a beautiful song that celebrates Jesus and it reminds us that the end result of celebration should be joy. What makes any celebration unique, whether it’s a birthday, an anniversary, an awards ceremony, or anything else, is that we take time out of our ordinary lives to honor and observe something that is notable and special. Doing so bestows special significance on the person or event, and it brings joy to all those involved.
Our celebration of Christmas should serve to bring us great joy. It should remind us of how much God loves us; it should celebrate the truth that Jesus came into the world to take away our sins; and it should be an occasion that honors Him and which brings genuine joy to us.
But that will only be true if we stay focused on the real reason for the season. And we will have to be intentional about that. We will have to do things to keep reminding ourselves that this really is all about Jesus. Otherwise our focus will be on gift lists and guest lists; it will be on shopping, and decorations, and preparing meals for large groups of people and … well, just “and”. Our focus will be on a hundred other things. We will be hurried, hassled, and frazzled, and we probably will not be especially joyful.
Observing Advent helps us to keep the focus where it needs to be. Observing Advent helps to restore the simple and pure joy of celebrating the birth of our Savior. Observing Advent will help us to be joyful for the right reasons.
The end result of our Christmas celebration should be joy, deep and genuine joy.