I can’t read this passage without hearing Linus’ voice reciting it in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Recently, I learned that when Charles Schulz was negotiating with a network to run the show, the network wanted to delete this part. Schulz refused and would not allow the show to run without it. That impressed me. I wondered if that’d work in today’s world.
“Tidings of great joy.” The Dictionary of Bible Themes found on BibleGateway.com defines joy as “A quality or attitude of delight and happiness, which is ultimately grounded in the work of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
In a wordly sense, people think joy can come from having more things, a better job, a different spouse, a bigger house. That really is happiness. Happiness lasts for a brief time. But, from a heavenly perspective, joy comes from God alone. That feeling deep down inside of us that rises up and shines on our face – JOY. Joy lasts. Even when we may not be happy, we can be joyful because of Christ in our life.
Nelson’s Compact Bible Dictionary describes it best:
“Joy rises above circumstances and focuses on the character of God. God’s acts are the cause of rejoicing. The joy required of the righteous person is produced by the Spirit of God. This kind of joy looks beyond the present to our future salvation and to our sovereign God, who works out all things for our ultimate good, which is Christlikeness. This kid of joy is distinct from mere happiness. Joy like this is possible, even in the midst of sorrow.”
My prayer is that we look to God for our joy. Happiness is fleeting, but true joy continues. It gives us that eternal satisfaction of being saved and assured of a beautiful future with Christ.
May your Christmas bring you much joy that survives into 2013 and beyond.
“I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3:18b)
What brings you much joy? How do you find joy each and every day?
Those are my thoughts for today.
Last week’s word–Wonder.