Joy to the World
Do you ever feel like Christmas has lost a little bit of the magic, or the joy, it once had? When you’re a kid and you’re experiencing your first few Christmases on planet earth, everything about it creates a sense of wonder and awe. However as time moves on, life gets busier, bills get bigger, and what you remember as the magic of the season seems to be less joyful than it once was.
While this is an unwelcome feeling, it’s not an uncommon one. It’s easy to get lost in all the stuff of the season and miss out on the parts that used to feel so good. It doesn’t just happen with Christmas either. In our theme for Summer 2023, we’re going to be studying the life of David. Even with the title of “man after God’s own heart,” David had some low points in his life.
In Psalm 51:12, David writes: “Restore to me the joy of my salvation.”
David finds himself at a low point in his life. His circumstances have caused him to lose sight of the joy (or magic, if you will) of all that God has done for him. He’s traded the goodness that God offers to those who love Him for the passions and pleasures that the world offers. Realizing that those things left him feeling empty, David asks God to remind him of the joy, satisfaction, and pleasure he found in the Lord before he chased the things of the world.
Life is filled with challenging seasons. Jesus even guarantees us that we will have troubles. It’s easy to find yourself down in these hard seasons. David reminds us that even in dark circumstances, we have a sense of hope. And that hope is a cause for joy.
A Cause for Joy
As we enter into Christmas and advent season, let’s keep in mind the real reason we can have joy. Joy is not found in pretty lights, matching wrapping paper, or even sweet treats (although they do you make you feel pretty good). Joy is found in the hope we were given at Christmas when God sent us his long-awaited Son, Jesus. Joy is found in remembering that Son would live a perfect life and go to the cross on our behalf. Joy is found when we recognize God is with us and we can walk with him, even when things seem hard.
How will you look past all of the stress of the season, slow down, and find joy as a family this Christmas?
Questions for Reflection:
- What are you looking towards for happiness? And how do you seek out happiness around the Christmas season?
- How would you describe the difference between happiness and joy?
- Have you ever experienced joy, alongside sadness, grief or challenges?
- How does the hope of Jesus make it easier to be full of joy, even when life gets hard?
Advent at Home Activity: Joy
This is something that is fit for the WHOLE family, and uses supplies you probably already have… Christmas stockings!
- Start by reading from Psalm 100, which begins with “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth!”.
- As you read the verse, talk about things that you all are thankful for, make you joyful, that God has given to you.
- Write them down (or draw them) and drop them into your stocking.
- During the month, as think of other things, continue to write them down and place them in the stocking.
- And then at some point, maybe at Christmas dinner or on Christmas Eve, pull out allll the papers and talk about all of the JOYFUL things we can praise God for!
Written by: Bryant Malone, Senior Manager of Outreach and Communications