The story of Christ’s birth told each year proclaims the “good news of great joy” that the shepherds first heard from the angels. It recounts the wise men, who “rejoiced with great joy” upon seeing the star. We also hear how Mary’s soul rejoiced in God her Savior when she learned she would bear the Christ. One of the best things about the Christmas season is the way anticipation builds for the big day. From the moment Thanksgiving ends, the countdown to Christmas officially begins. As the anticipation builds, so does the joy we look forward to feeling. However if look for joy in other place than connecting with Christ we are always disappointed.
The joy of Christmas is no ordinary joy, but the “mega joy” of redemptive history. It discerns, by faith, the unsurpassable gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and it trusts, often in defiance of painful circumstances, that nothing can prevent every last promise in Christ from coming to complete fulfillment. The people of God had long been waiting for a Savior to come. When they knew that Jesus, the One whose arrival they’d anticipated for hundreds of years, was born that Christmas morning, their joy was endless. While we can’t imagine what it must have felt like for the people back then to know that the King they’d been promised had finally come, we can share in their joy this Christmastide season. For just as God filled their hearts with His joy, He can fill ours with the same. And His joy—a deep, unmatchable, life-changing joy—is better than any good feelings or temporary happiness. As we move into this new year, ask God to fill your hearts with joy. Pray to Christ to make your life a living testament of His joy this year.