What brings you joy at Christmas? Of course, there are the usual answers: presents, fun decorations, and yummy foods. But looking deeper, what brings long lasting joy?
While reading through the Christmas story recently, I was struck by how often the word “joy” (and its synonyms) appears. The fingerprints of joy appear everywhere, permeating the whole story.
Consider for example:
- Mary’s Visit to Elizabeth— John the Baptist leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary arrives, and Elizabeth calls Mary “Blessed Among Women” (Luke 1:39–45).
- Mary’s Magnificat— Mary sings a song of praise to the Lord, proclaiming “my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47).
- The Angelic Proclamation to the Shepherds— An angel tells the shepherds: “I bring you good news of great joy” (Luke 2:9).
- The Response of the Shepherds— After seeing baby Jesus, the shepherds “returned, glorifying and praising God” (Luke 2:20).
- Jesus’ Purification in the Temple— Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple when he was 8 days old for the purification ritual. Simeon blesses God; and the prophetess, Anna, gave thanks (Luke 2:22–38).
- The Wisemen— Magi from the East followed a star and when they found Jesus, they “rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (Matt. 2:10).
No doubt there were several other happy moments as well. But whenever Scripture goes out of the way to use the word joy (or rejoicing, thanksgiving etc.) in its nativity description, it always references a Savior who has come to save his people.
Sometimes we get bogged down in the business of the holiday season or lament over lost loved ones we no longer have on earth. Perhaps sharing the good news of Christ’s birth feels more like a drudgery than an honor.
It’s in these moments that we most need to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. When we truly realize why Christ was born, we can’t help but rejoice.
Do you have any holiday traditions that help you and your family celebrate Christ’s incarnation? If so, share them in the comment section below. I’d love to hear!