Joy

ornaments

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

– Romans 15:13

‘Tis the season — a season of stressing out over family visits, arguments around the dinner table, last-minute gift preparations, frenzied trips to the grocery store for that one last ingredient, and hours cooped up in the family sedan driving to grandma’s house. More importantly, ’tis the season to be filled with joy — joy about the hope a Savior has brought to us, joy over reuniting with friends and family we may seldom see, joy in creating and sharing memories with those we love. It’s an emotion we Christians should have in ourselves and should be sharing with others.

Be honest: are you a joyful person? We certainly find several reasons to not be joyful. Traffic around the mall, current events, work drama, neighborhood gossip, congregational arguments, our possessions or lack thereof — we are experts at being discontented. None of these things, however, can touch the hope we have of a home in Heaven. Even truly serious discouragements cannot come between us and Christ.

In addressing Christians who were nitpicking each other to the point of discouragement, Paul wrote:

So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

– Romans 14:16-17

In other words, our joy is not defined by material things. We have joy because of what Christ has done for us. We have joy because we have hope that passes understanding. We have joy because our sins are forgiven, and nothing can take that away. And what better time to share that hope than in this season of joy? Christ came to this world, born miraculously to His virgin mother, and that life would change the world. That life defeated sin and death. That life opened salvation to us all. His sacrifice brings us hope and joy beyond measure, and it was possible because He came in the first place.

He is our hope. He is our peace. He is our joy. Let Heaven and nature sing.

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