Joy to the World
The Christmas holiday can make us happy, but Jesus can bring us joy.
I love one of the verses we looked at in 1 Peter: “You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9, NLT).
It’s hard to describe in the English language the extent of feeling in this passage. First, the word rejoice means to be ‘extremely joyful and filled with delight.’ The word glorious means, ‘of the highest, most exceptional value.’ And the phrase inexpressible joy literally means a gladness that is ‘too great for words.” You put it all together, and what Peter is saying is that ‘trusting Christ will fill you with a joyful delight of highest value and gladness that is beyond description.’ You know what that sounds like to me? It’s sounds like what we all want from Christmas.
Not surprisingly, the word for joy here is the same word the angel uses in Luke 2 when he says, “Behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.” From the very beginning of his life here on earth, Jesus has brought joy. I think this universal joy is still felt every Christmas all around the world, even by people who are far from God. But when we love and trust Jesus, as the verses from 1 Peter say, we get the inexpressible joy of being made right with God.
So by all means, enjoy the traditions of the holiday. But don’t expect real joy from any other source but the birth, life and resurrection of the one who offers the gift of salvation.
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