Looking for Joy

Joy Is The Serious Business Of Christmas

It’s the season to be jolly! The Holiday Season summons Christians to be joyous in the birth of the baby Jesus at Bethlehem. Yet, Christmas also belongs to those who are not religious but love celebrating the holiday season.

There are three types of joy: pleasure, passion, and purpose. For many, pleasure and passion explode on Christmas Day or Eve with the exchanging of gifts. People love to give and get presents. Our own joy increases by giving a gift that provides another person with pleasure.

Christmas gifts often reflect the liking or passion of the recipient. Golf balls or a particular golf club for the golfer, a new novel by a favorite author for a reader, or a specific kitchen appliance for the one who loves to bake.

If gifts often reflect what people like or want, some gifts are what the person needs. Some gifts serve a purpose like new winter boots because the old ones have come apart at the sole. Some claim there is a fourth type of joy when you can find the ultimate thrill of seeing goodness, truth, beauty, and love beyond your ordinary pleasures, passions, and purposes.

There’s a higher power than our own that enables us to find wonder and divine mystery in the circumstance of our lives. Only God can help us with gifts we get handed but do not want to accept. For example, in the Bible, Joseph was pledged to marry Mary, but before they came together, Mary was pregnant. This was cause for a public disgrace since the baby was not Joseph’s, but rather than have that happen; Joseph had in his mind to divorce Mary quietly.

Because Joseph was considering divorcing Mary, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. The angel told Joseph, “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son. and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” (Luke 120-21)

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. He gave the baby born of Mary the name Jesus. The baby was born in a stable in Bethlehem when Joseph and Mary went there to be counted in a census.

What joy for Joseph and Mary when shepherds visited them to see their baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. The shepherds told them that an angel had told them their baby in the manger was Christ, the Lord. Before Jesus was two years old, wise men came to worship and bring gifts to the one born King of the Jews, their baby Jesus. They gave the baby costly gifts of gold incense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)

The joy of Mary and Joseph was complete wonder and marvel at what people said about their Son Jesus. They and countless others have found the ultimate thrill of God in the love, beauty, goodness, and truth of Jesus Christ, the Lord. May you accept and enjoy the baby Jesus born to cure you of the sorrow of your sins. Merry Christmas! Amen.

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