DOWN IN MY HEART
"Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let Earth receive her king!"
The classic Christmas hymn that nearly all of us sing each December proclaims that joy will pervade the hearts of those who rejoice in the coming of the savior. But for so many, it is a seasonal and shallow joy that comes and goes with the Christmas season.
Joy is not just the lack of suffering - a topic we often don’t care to discuss. So much of our lives are committed to not seeing or hearing of suffering. We quickly change the channel when we see suffering on a TV commercial, because frankly, we prefer to live in an illusory world where we are fine, the people that we know are fine, and that altogether, things are fine.
Jesus said we would experience suffering in this lifetime but that one day all suffering would end, and it's in this hope that we find our joy every day of the year.
As God's people, we are called to a certain kind of joy. Not the joy of the Vikings making the playoffs or the joy of seeing the first streetsweeper in the spring - those are fleeting influencers of our mood like a pay raise or surf and turf night at the chow hall.
It's not a seasonal joy - the kind that won't sustain you when the credit card statement comes in January or when the doldrums of winter enter their third (or fourth, or fifth) month.
Godly joy is an attitude that God's people adopt because of their hope in God's love and His promises, and not a mood that comes from temporary circumstances.
Be encouraged: this time of year is about the message of good news that brings great joy! You can choose joy to anticipate your future redemption. This truth will change everything about your life and enhance your ability to bring hope to those you lead.
LEADER PRAYER: Lord, please help us in our weakness. May we experience the "most wonderful time of the year" every day because we meditate on your word as the authority for our lives. May your hope, peace, joy, and love remain bound in our hearts.
Blessings on your week --