Christmas is for You this year

“.. for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.” – Luke 1:49-50 

Christmas is for you this year. Really… it’s for you.

Maybe this is shocking to you. Maybe you feel like you don’t deserve a good Christmas. Sure, everyone tells that you do, right? But they don’t know the real you, do they? They don’t know your shame, your fears, your failures, and your disappointments.

Or maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe you are a successful professional. The world sees you as a success… beautiful, intelligent, wealthy. They don’t know the daily struggle to put on a good face, to show everyone that you are put together, composed, and in control. If only someone knew what it took to be “you,” right?

Will joy be hard for you this year? Are you worried that you may not be able to give your family a good Christmas? Or maybe despite being able to buy whatever you want this year, you are worried that this year, contentment will be long forgotten and that the new year will start off with unmet expectations. You may barely imagine being able to smile, and enjoy good food, good drink, and being with your family this season.

But biblical joy isn’t putting on a happy face and saying everything’s “OK.” Joy is resting in and reveling in the promise that Christ is making “all things new” (Rev 21:5). Don’t set aside your worries and fears this year, but rather set them before the infant Christ in the manger.

Jesus was born and lived the life that you couldn’t live and died on the cross in your place, not solely that you would enjoy Christmas but that you would enjoy Him. So this year, enjoy your tree, the gifts, good food and your family. Enjoy them because Christ has bought those good gifts for you, for His glory (1 Cor 10:31)

A Prayer for Joy
O God, please quiet my heart and still my soul. Help me to see Your goodness to me this season, and remain my unshakable treasure and joy this year.

Author: Michael Douglas (not the actor) is married to Jennifer and they have two sons. He serves on the worship team at Fellowship Middlebrook and is a local surgeon.

Finding Joy

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure, buried in a field, that a man found and reburied. Then in his joy he goes and sells everything he has and buys that field.” – Matthew 13:44

The poignant lyrics of the classic rock ballad speak to me deeply.

I have climbed highest mountains / I have run through the fields … I have run / I have crawled / I have scaled these city walls …

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

Consciously or unconsciously we’re all looking for something. I believe that something is joy.

Inexhaustible, indestructible, unfailing joy. It’s what the proverbial hole in all our hearts long for. It’s what we strive for. It’s what we save for. It’s what we want for Christmas and every other day of the year.

Of course, we do. We were created with and for meaning, purpose, and joy. This deep and human longing for joy is at the heart of Advent. It’s at the heart of Isaiah’s prophetic words about the Messiah. (Isaiah 8-9) It is what Zechariah and Elizabeth were hoping for. It’s what Anna was praying for. Finding joy is what Christmas is all about. This joy isn’t found in a toy, necklace, fireplace, or tradition. The joy of Christmas is only found in a person.

I’ve got good news. The joy we’re looking for has come near to us. Jesus, Emmanuel – God with us.

Prayer: “Father, in this Advent season I’ll be tempted to look for joy in all the wrong places. Help me to keep my eyes on you – the treasure of joy. You are the one who is inexhaustible, indestructible, and unfailing!”

Finding Joy in Christmas | Advent 2021 Preview

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Isaiah 9:6-7

Isaiah’s beautiful prophecy foretold a promise 700 years in the making. Though the world was dark and hope was fleeting, joy was coming. Though life was hard and toilsome, rest was coming. Though sin had enslaved, a rescuer was coming. A child, like no other, would be born. A Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace was coming. A Savior was on His way. This is the promise of Advent.

Advent comes from a Latin word meaning ‘coming’ or ‘arrival’. For centuries, Christians have reflected upon the first Advent – Jesus’s arrival as Messiah and the second Advent when Jesus will come as King.

Traditionally, the Advent season occurs in the weeks leading up to Christmas. There are a variety of ways in which people have celebrated the season. Some have lit candles on a wreath or stand, reflecting on the imagery of Jesus as the Light of the World. (John 1:4-9; 8-12) Others have used a window calendar, usually made with twenty-four “windows” you open.

No matter how you celebrate the season, what is important is the opportunity to reflect on the Savior who came to fulfill God’s promise of rescue and redemption.

Over the next four weeks, reflections will be posted here on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can also have them delivered to your inbox by subscribing HERE.

We all long for true and lasting joy. Join us this Advent season in weekly reflections that will point your heart onto the path of joy.