As I re-juggled my “to do” list of Christmas preparations, my thoughts bounced around the changes that have come and how Christmas will be somewhat different this year — good changes, challenging changes, hard changes — the interesting mosaic of life. It’s different for all of us, yet we all share in that changing landscape of life. Sometimes finding joy in the changes is easy. Other time it’s very challenging.
As I pondered the changes in my life, and in our world, I thought about Christmas and the birth of Baby Jesus. Sometimes that manger scene seems so irrelevant and so far removed from day-to-day life. Yet an old verse in the Bible brought freshness to my soul this week as I pondered how the Baby Jesus impacts my life today. It truly gives new cause for joy — to stop and listen again.
“For unto us a child is born …and He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Any need you have in life and in the changing landscape of your mosaic can be answered by Jesus. If you need wisdom or strength, He will be your Counselor. If you need a mountain moved, He is your Mighty God. If you need comfort, forgiveness and gentle healing, He is your everlasting Father; and if your heart is anxious and troubled, He will be Peace to you. Jesus is our rock and our hope — our cause for joy!
Let your heart pause with thankfulness as you prepare for Christmas. Look at the manger scene with the fresh wonder of all He is to you. Let joy seep into the changes of your life. No need or change that you face will not be met by Him. He is so much more than just a baby! Invite Him into your changes! Let joy fill your soul.
A PRAYER FOR JOY
This third week of Advent, let us remember that the good news of Jesus’ birth has the power to bring us great joy this Christmas season. Our joy isn’t dependent on what is going on in our life, in our world, or the people that we are with. It doesn’t depend on the gifts we give or the gifts we find under the tree. No earthly thing can ever give us complete joy. Our joy comes from you. That joy that flooded the hearts of the shepherds, the angels, the wise men, the hosts of heaven, and Mary and Joseph is the joy that still has the power to overwhelm our hearts with rejoicing.
Those who gathered around the new baby were blessed because they believed that you had fulfilled your promises. Mary and Joseph believed and were able to feel the joy of holding baby Jesus in their arms. The shepherds and wise men believed the angles and the signs and experienced the great gladness of worshipping their Messiah.
Those who knew him and recognized him were overjoyed at the coming of Jesus. They saw the prophesies fulfilled and their fear was replaced with happiness as they gazed on the face of the one who would be their Savior. They trusted in your promises and their hearts were filled with gladness as they watched your loving-kindness manifested in the face of a tiny baby in a lowly manger.
Father, you offer that same joy to us now if we know you and recognize Jesus as our Savior and Lord. You gave us a reason to celebrate when you gave us the unspeakable gift of Jesus Christ. You came to dwell among us. You went to Calvary’s cross for us. You overcame death and rose from the dead for us. You forgive our sin and give us eternal life when we believe in you.
Our joy doesn’t come from our jobs, our family, our relationships, our finances, or our success. Our joy doesn’t come from what we have on earth or who we are with. Our joy is a gift. It is the gift that you gave us that first Christmas in Jesus Christ. Our joy is encompassed in our Savior, King Jesus. Flood our heart with joy this Advent season as we reflect on the good news of Jesus’ birth.
In Jesus’ precious name we pray.