Friday, December 23, 2011

Happiness at Christmas is not the Goal!

I love Christmas! I love everything about it! And here we are just 2 days before Christmas and I am loving it! I am happy! There are many things that bring me "happiness" this Christmas:

The decorations make me happy. I just love our house at Christmas! I love all the lights around town (though I'm not a big fan of all the inflatable elements in people's yards)!

Watching all the Christmas specials on TV makes me happy (especially Ernest Saves Christmas)!

The fact that my stocking will be full come Christmas morning (and I'm not talking coal here) makes me happy!

Knowing there are beautifully wrapped presents under our Christmas tree with my name on it that makes me happy!

The food that will be on our dining room table this Christmas - that will make me happy!

Having both of my kids home from college for Christmas indeed makes me happy!

But it isn't the "happiness" of Christmas that I'm loving. That's not what I am most excited about! It's the joy! There is a big difference. Happiness is a temporary feeling that comes and goes based on circumstances. Joy is different. It's better - much better.

Think about it. The very first Christmas was filled with JOY! Everyone involved seemed to experience it. The angels told the shepherds of "Great" joy and the wise men rejoiced "Exceedingly." This wasn't happiness.

There were no decorations!

The wise men were not checking out the light displays in people's yards on the way to Bethlehem!

There were no stockings hung by the chimney with care!

There were no holiday specials to watch on TV!

There were no gingerbread cookies to eat or egg nog to drink!

There were no beautifully wrapped presents under fancifully decorated trees!

But there was joy! What makes the difference? It's Jesus! Joy has nothing to do with circumstances (that's happiness) but everything to do with Jesus (that's joy)! The Bible says it this way:

"And though you have not seen Him (Jesus), you love Him (Jesus), and though you do not see Him (Jesus) now, but believe in Him (Jesus), you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory!" (1 Peter 1:8)

So my Christmas wish for each of you over the coming weekend has nothing to do with "happiness!" My wish for you is much greater than a temporary feeling that comes and goes with circumstances. My wish for you is JOY - a deep, inner, abiding contentment in the fact that you know and are eternally secure in Jesus, no matter if your holiday circumstances are favorable or frustrating.

As Christians we owe it to the world to be supernaturally joyful! And there is no day like Christmas to let that joy shine! May your Christmas be one in which, because you love and believe in Jesus, you "greatly" rejoice with joy that is "inexpressible" and which is "full" of glory!

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