It’s the Christmas season, and there’s a lot of talk about joy.
Joy is the theme of the season.
When the angel announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, he said, “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” And, when the wise men saw the star, they were filled with joy.
At Christmas services, we sing, “Joy to the world. The Lord is come.”
However, I see little joy on the faces of stressed and worn out shoppers. The long lines at customer service and checkout counters isn’t cause for joy. The mall traffic isn’t cause for joy, either. For me, the cleaning and wrapping and cooking replaces joy with grumpiness.
One Christmas season almost twenty years ago, I threw a fit at the checkout counter when a store refused to return a gift that I had purchased for my niece. I even yelled to shoppers entering the store, “Don’t shop here. They sell broken things and won’t take them back!” You can read about that embarrassing incident here, on the blog from July 2015.
Jesus Wants Us to Have Joy
Jesus wouldn’t approve of our seasonal grumpiness. On the last night with His disciples, He told them, “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (John 15:11 NLT) He may have been leaving them, but He was leaving them with a gift: His joy!
You see, I think that Jesus was a joyful person: I imagine that he smiled–a lot. I don’t mean just a sad or tired smile, because joy bubbles out in easy smiles and wide toothy grins and laughter.
Remember the films portraying the life of Jesus?
I’ve seen Jesus of Nazareth (1977), Jesus (1979), and The Passion of the Christ (2004). But, I’m not sure that any of them captured His personality. Because of those films, I pictured a serious and somber Jesus.
In 1993, The Visual Bible released Matthew, and Bruce Marchiano brought a smiling, cheerful, likable Jesus to life. Our family watched it over and over, sometimes laughing out loud.
I want to have Jesus’ joy.
Joy that bubbles out of a surrendered heart, with little thought of self.
Joy that flows from a peace-filled heart, free from worry and fear.
Joy that fills a confident heart, because I knows I’m loved.
That kind of joy puts a smile on my face.
Jesus wants us to be filled with His joy. It’s His Christmas (and every-other-day-of-the-year) gift to you and me.