“…Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Luke 2:10
Joy is a wonderful thing and a gift of God; it is a special gift of God to mankind and best that can happen to you during Christmas. I wonder if you have experienced Joy this season. It is not shopping, decorating and lights, Christmas tree or even having a big meal with your family. There is so much of mindless activity – but many go through these activities without Joy. I am not referring to happiness.
Happiness is a wonderful thing at the Christmas and like all the world’s virtues, it is temporal. Happiness is related to your circumstances. When circumstances are right and favorable there is happiness; but when things are not going according to your expectations happiness departs. It is not this way with joy. The source of Joy is God. It is based upon what God has done, and it is given to the Christians by God and is sustained by God. Nothing destroys joy except disbelief in God’s provision of Salvation and unfaithfulness with God.
I pray that God may give joy to you. I would like you to have the experience of entering into the kind of joy that Mary and Joseph and the shepherds had on that first Christmas morning. Did they have joy? Of course, they did! But think about their condition and circumstances! They were not in a good or an ideal situation. Mary and Joseph were far from home, in distant town without even a room to themselves in which Mary could give birth to the Child. But I imagine that the joy of this couple on this occasion was the greatest this world has ever known or seen. Why do you think it was so? Because this joy was given to them by God Himself and was centered on the birth of the Savior. This Child was given to be their Savior.
His name will be called JESUS because “he will save His people from their sins”. Mathew 1:21
If you know this and believe then Joy is yours. You can go on, as the shepherds did, to give glory to God; and you can possess that peace of heart and soul which transcends understanding. Share your Joy and source of Joy.
When Christ Jesus comes again, it is written, that He will wipe all our tears. This will be an appropriation of Eternal Joy.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:4
We get excited about getting together as a family during Christmas. it can be both exciting and frustrating time because on one hand you are excited about the family members or relatives visiting you but at the same time it can cause lots of anxiety. You have to figure out all the details like how long the guest will stay, where you are going to put all the guests and then cooking for all the guests etc etc. The list goes on. Some don’t invite anyone because it is a burden and lots of work and preparation. Some don’t have desire to invite. Some don’t care about others. Some wants to keep it between them and their family. Its just a family time.
Let me give you my commentary on Luke Chapter 2. Joseph and Mary had to go back to Bethlehem because of the decree of Emperor. I think they were hoping to see their family members and relatives and friends in the town of Bethlehem after a long time. I am guessing there may be other family members of Joseph who may be visiting the town for the same reason of getting registered and be counted in the census. It was Joseph’s home town. There were lots of expectations of getting together with their other relatives and friends.
“Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, ..” Luke 2:4
But they were shocked and heart-broken! Joseph and Mary could not find any relative or family member or even a friend who could invite them into their home! This is how Jesus and Mary and Joseph were treated by their home town friends and relatives. No one wanted to invite them into their home. (plagued by Bethlehem syndrome! ) This was a reception and hospitality JESUS received 2000 years ago at His First Coming.
“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7
So they have to spent their time with the cattle. Do you have a place for JESUS in your celebration? Or you have kept him outside because you are too busy in your celebrations.
[Here is a practical lesson from the story of Christmas. Don’t be a #Bethlehemite!(see footnote) So often we think Christmas is all about me and my family. On the contrary, I would suggest that its a time when you can open your home and heart for people. Its an opportunity to share your love and your Savior with the people. There are many who are neglected , ignored or overlooked during the Christmas time because of bitter feelings, unforgiving hearts and hatred for particular people group or persons. Make a list of your Guests for this Christmas. In your list include orphans, single moms/ dads, widows, singles, elderly people or strangers! (new person in your church, in your neighborhood)] Remember you don’t need a big house but a big heart full of Christ’ love!
Even today, we see JESUS does not get the reception, people have kept Jesus out and replaced him with worldly traditions. Celebrate Christmas with JESUS CHRIST and with Share Him with those who do not know the real reason of Christmas. Christmas is all about JESUS. Invite HIM into your heart and home today.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20
JESUS is also preparing a place for you. At His Second Coming, He will take you to be with Him.
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2-3
(#Bethlehemite is one who does not show or provide hospitality)