joy

Read Luke 2:10, Psalm 16

It is not a secret that I spend hours every year watching those sappy Hallmark Christmas movies. I should be ashamed of how many hours I spend watching, but strangely, I’m not ashamed at all! Why these things appeal to so many people is not hard to understand.  There are recurring messages in each one, wrapped up in stories that are sappy and syrupy, but still, messages that resonate with us.

Some examples: At Christmas anything is possible; miracles happen; wrongs are made right; love and laughter are found; magical things happen; dreams come true. I have to admit, many times I find myself rolling my eyes at how unrealistic, but I keep going back for more because a part of me really wants to believe that there really is “magic” in the season.

I think that much of the appeal of stories like these lies in the fact that we are all longing for something. No matter how content we are with life, no matter how satisfied and happy we may be, there is still something that we all long for deep in our hearts.

We long for meaning and for happiness, and often these things elude us. Many people try to fill their longings with material possessions or relationships or experiences, only to realize that these things don’t necessarily satisfy.

The blessing of Advent is that we are reminded that true joy only comes through Jesus. He came to earth at Christmas to show us the great joy there is in His presence. The psalmist tells us that it is this joy that brings us fulfillment and eternal happiness.

Our challenge, living in a world where superficial pleasures are paraded in front of us incessantly, is to cling ever closer to our Savior. The angels’ announcement to the shepherds of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem was God’s way of breaking through all the darkness of this world to bring His light of joy right here on earth for us. Because of Christmas, our longing hearts can be filled with all the joys that Jesus Christ offers.

(Don’t forget to comment below the Christmas carol named in the title for an entry into the drawing for a gift card.)