Christmas Joy

Advent Blogging 2007

Many of us were raised with the understanding that Christmas joy comes in the form of presents, believing that a certain special gift was the key to our happiness, the fulfillment of our wishes. Someone was going to know us well enough and care about us enough that the deepest desires of our heart would be realized.

I Thessalonians 5:16 tells us to “be joyful always.”

That seems a bit unrealistic, maybe overly optimistic.

Interesting that in context, it is paired with the command to pray continuously.

“Be joyful always, pray continuously.” Hmmm.

Seeing this actually helped me to understand how we could be expected to be joyful always. To pray continuously requires that we grow in our understanding of God’s presence, no longer segregating our lives into compartments of sacred and secular activities. In order to pray continuously, we embrace an underlying frequency of God’s presence that is constant, whether we are tuned in or not.

Likewise, the scriptures tell us that our joy is made complete and that we experience fullness of joy in God’s presence. So rather than working at being joyful, experiencing joy is an awareness of the constance of God’s presence in our life which we can access at any time. His presence isn’t something we have to work up, but instead it is a constant reality that we simply open ourselves up to.

Joy isn’t a happy feeling that happens to us when everything is going right or when we get all of the things that we want. It also isn’t a fake happiness that we are expected to drum up in spite of our circumstances. It is a gift given to us by His Spirit as we experience God’s presence.

They were wrong. Christmas joy isn’t about presents. It’s all about Presence.


Other advent bloggers:

  • Brother Maynard
  • Adam Copeland
  • Lori Bjerkander
  • Robin Dugall
  • Julie Clawson
  • Lainie Petersen
  • John the Shepherd
  • Glenn Jordan
  • Lyn Hallewell
  • Matt Stone
  • Peggy Brown
  • Rob Robinson
  • J. Michael Matkin
  • Sonja
  • Christine Sine
  • Cindy Bryan
  • Eric G.
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    6 thoughts on “Christmas Joy

    1. :) I like that, A LOT! Tell me I’ll learn this eventually… or maybe I’ll learn it one week, and then the next it’s like I never went through that lesson with Jesus… wow. Grace, grace and more grace. He is Good. and His GIFTS are the best.

      excuse my rambling on your blog.

    2. The Real Meaning of Christmas
      ~Joseph Ostrander

      behind trees aglow with radiant light
      behind all those festive ornaments bright…

      behind strands of tinsel—like angel hair
      behind oversized stockings hung up with care…

      behind presents wrapped up in colorful array
      behind seasonal wreaths put up for display…

      behind carols sung by a choir so sweet
      behind mounded platters of holiday treats…

      behind decorations of red and green
      behind hand-carved miniature nativity scenes…

      behind those cold-nipped cheeks so rosy
      behind blazing yuletide fires so cozy…

      behind all the frenzied hustle and bustle
      behind the sluggish shopping crowd shuffle…

      behind the rush of last minute details
      behind the deadline to get the cards mailed…

      behind the short tempers that sometimes flare up
      behind angry feelings that suddenly erupt…

      behind countless things still left undone
      no wonder this season’s not very much fun!

      how could this season be much of a joy
      when I can’t even assemble this new-fangled toy?

      I wonder if anyone could honestly find
      genuine reasons to be loving and kind…

      and as I ponder this lack of joy in my soul
      I realize I’ve forgotten this season’s true goal…

      because the true meaning of Christmas you see
      was wrapped up in the babe of the nativity…

      for unto us that night a Son was given
      who would die for us all and open up heaven…

      angels proclaimed the dear Savior’s birth
      reminding me clearly of this season’s true worth…

      for God gave the most precious gift he could give, the gift of his Son so that all men may live

      a new life without end with joy so divine
      that Christmas could be a more meaningful time…

      so when the holiday strain gets too great
      with gifts still unwrapped and the hour growing late

      the Prince of Peace wants to calm all the fuss
      and renew the right meaning of Christmas…in us!

    3. reneegrace,
      Ramble away. I also seem to find myself re-learning things I’ve already known and smacking my hand against my forehead wondering why I forget.

      That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing it here. Very fitting to the advent theme of joy.

      Merry Christmas traveller!

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