Holiday stress is real, just Google the term. Most of us are adding additional spending, shopping, decorating, cleaning and traveling to lives which already lack the margin.
Add over eating, under exercising and family dysfunctions and you understand the following exchange in the movie “Christmas Vacation.”
To his father, Clark Griswold asks, “How did you get through it?”
“I had a lot of help from Jack Daniels,” his dad replied.
Compare Grandpa Griswold’s response to that of the magi when they saw the star above where the baby Jesus lay.
And when they saw the star they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. Matthew 2:10
Debilitating stress, numbed with alcohol compared with having great joy?
We have gotten way off track.
The wise men’s joy was a reaction to the coming of Emmanuel – God with us. They got it. God coming to earth in human form is a reason to rejoice exceedingly with great joy.
“In your presence is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11b
If we want to experience true joy in a society fighting to keep Christ out of Christmas, we must fight to keep Christ in the center of every aspect of our lives.
The Magi’s joy preceded the timeless sacrifice Jesus would make for the sins of men.
Jesus said, “Truly, truly I say to you, he who hears My words, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” John 5:34
The word “believe” above means to commit to, trust in and rely upon.
If you have believed in Jesus in this way, the following facts are true about you:
- You are not an orphan, but are a true child of God
- You have been given an inheritance which includes the Indwelling Holy Spirit and an Eternal home
- You have been made into a new creations, freed from the penalty of the law
- You have been given supernatural peace, hope and joy which transcends all earthly circumstances
- Your purpose is now clear. You are to love others as Christ has loved you
- You don’t need anything other than passionately loving Jesus to give you the same joy the magi experienced
Pause: Don’t rush past these glorious facts. The tremendous significance of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on our behalf is a reason for even greater joy than the wise men experienced.
No matter how stressed we feel in this busy season, we must fight to find our joy in Jesus and what he’s done for us.
No matter how disappointed we feel when expectations aren’t met, we must fight to remember the significance of God coming to earth as a man to die a death in our place and to grant us lasting peace.
No matter what devastating circumstance we may face, we must fight to guard our hearts and bring our pain to Jesus, asking him to lighten us with the joy of His presence.
And no matter how magical the season becomes with family and gifts and celebration, we must fight to keep Jesus in the center of our affections.
No matter how society tries to take Christ out of Christmas, we must never forget the significance of Emmanuel. The calendars we use are based on His coming.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are our true Joy. This world is filled with grief and loss, but You’re always the answer. I’m sorry for when I’ve allowed other ‘joys’ to compete with you in the deep affections of my heart. Please help me guard my heart. Show me quickly when I care too much about the world around me that I forget about you. And when pain threatens to steal my joy, keep me delighting in you all the day.
Thank you that if I had nothing on earth but your love and the hope of my eternal home with you, these facts alone would be reasons for exceeding great joy.
We celebrate You.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Philippians 4:4