“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.” –Kay Warren
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:11
Despite the lights and the sparkle, the gifts and the songs, sometimes Christmas feels like it’s lacking joy. Or happiness, really. Two words we so often get confused. Traditions have changed within families, families themselves have changed, the city, the country, the world; things change, and people change with them. It’s this change that happens around us that can make us feel sad, or lonely, or even a little empty during the holidays. My family doesn’t do what they once did, and to be honest with you, it has left a part of my heart feeling wilted. But that’s the thing about true joy– it’s impossible to be empty. What Christ has done for us, the truth of what Advent brings and calls is nothing short of cup runneth over.
“…My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:5-6
We live in a period of already, but not yet. Yes, Christ has come, and yes, he’s coming again. We live in the period of tension, drawing back like a bowstring, nearly taut. One day the arrow will be released, and when it is, Christ is making all things new. Until then though, we live in longing that might even be more accentuated during Advent. “He has placed eternity into man’s heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We have a deep, innate longing for our heavenly home. We know this is temporary, and what could possibly be a better reminder than the memory of how Christ himself already came, innocent and blameless as a child hidden away in a manger?
Emmanuel, God with us.
If there ever was a key to making life easier, to lighten the burden of fear and change, it comes with trust and belief. The question remains, do you believe that Christ can ease these burdens? Do you trust that He is working all things for good? Belief can be a battle, but it doesn’t have to be a losing one.
Instead of falling into the sadness this world begs of us, instead, chase eternal joy with heavy feet and trained persistence. We may not always feel happy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t know joy at the same time.