Is joy really possible this Christmas season when the world toys with economic collapse and perhaps a global conflict mapping out new realities; when besieged cities lie in rubble and spoil the hopes and dreams of those bombarded with war; when steady troubles near to home and far away enjoin our basest instincts to recoil and join the disheartened?
What do we have to say?
There’s really only one word that comes to mind, yet it seems so many are annoyed at anything employing the name of Jesus. Rejoicing in him has come to be offensive in the public conversation. We might even say ‘Christophobic’ if the rhetoric of other positions were used. Yet he is the One who not only speaks of life to the fullest buoyed by resilient faith but is the very substance of our praise.
Liberator! Deliverer! Redeemer!
What we see now and what we may pass through is not the end. Wrapped in the certainty of his love, we do not withhold the joy bubbling up within by the Spirit of Christ.
That which we can speak of with confident hope in a culturally Christ-less Christmas among masses without joy is the ageless story of this baby boy deployed from heaven’s kingdom, Son of God and Son of Man, the ultimate Saviour from all that has gone wrong.
The Spirit of Christmas has a name.
Yes … joy to the world, the Lord has come!
‘Jesus the Christ, fill us with the joy-filled gift of yourself this Christmas. We pray that you would enter every scene of heartache, ours and those across the globe. Shift the ploys of selfish earthly greed to creeds which honour you as the suffering servant announced long ago, who for the joy set before you, left the glory of heaven to endure the cross for us.
Forgive us where we become sidetracked by decoys of untruth which keep you at arms length. Give us words of absolute surrender to the goodness of your will and steadfast endurance to trust you still through that which would seek to rob us of the joy you alone can give.
Strengthen your people under duress to feel the caress of your near presence wherever they are and cause them to remember and enjoy the ever rising shout of joy at knowing you. Amen.’