The Joy of Christmas

Which part of Christmas brings your heart the most joy?

Maybe it’s sitting by a warm fireplace with hot cocoa and a good book. Perhaps you love to pick out a tree and decorate it with your family. Maybe it’s picking out gifts for your loved ones, listening to beautiful Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, spending time with family and friends, looking at pretty Christmas lights, going to Christmas parties or eating delicious Holiday treats. I love all of these things and more! I especially love watching the joy and excitement on my children’s faces as they celebrate the Christmas season, find the Elf on the shelf, and open up gifts. Their joy brings me joy.

I’m usually pretty good at getting into the Christmas spirit every single year. This year, however, has been hard and I’ve been struggling to jump into Christmas like I usually do. We don’t need to get into all the details of my life situation right now but just believe me when I say, life has been hard and dark for me this past year. It is difficult to find the motivation and energy to do fun things when your heart is feeling sad. I have heard other people talk about how they have felt this kind of sadness around the holidays, but I myself have never experienced this holiday depression, until this year that is. 

In the midst of my hurting heart and lack of enthusiasm, God has showed up! He has met me right where I’m at, without judgment. He has brought me joy in the midst of sadness, reminding me of the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus is the gift! He is God’s gift to us, God’s gift to me and it is Jesus who produces true joy in our hearts. Jesus is the joy of Christmas. 

One of the ways God revealed himself to me this Holiday season was through a book I am reading to my kids titled “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” by C. S. Lewis. Perhaps you have heard of this book? My dad read The Chronicles of Narnia series to me and my brother when we were kids, so I wanted to do the same for my own children. In the process, I have been the one to see God in this story. Rereading this book as an adult is even more moving and inspirational to my heart and I encourage you to read it at some point in your adult life if you haven’t already. As I was reading this fictional story to my boys about an evil witch turning the land of Narnia into a frozen land where it is always winter and never Christmas, I came across this paragraph that shook me to my core.  

And in that silence Edmund could at last listen to the other noise properly. A strange, sweet, rustling, chattering noise-and yet not so strange, for he knew he heard it before-if only he could remember where! Then all at once he did remember. It was the noise of running water. All around them, though out of sight, there were streams chattering, murmuring, bubbling, splashing and even in the distance roaring. And his heart gave a great leap (though he hardly knew why) when he realized that the frost was over.

C. S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

As I was reading this paragraph to my children, it was as if the words “and the frost was over” jumped off the page into my face and I heard God whisper, I will melt your frost. As soon as my children were asleep, I put the book down and told God; I believe you, I believe you will melt my frost and my winter will soon be over, I believe! 

We see an example of bold faith in the life of Zacchaeus in Luke chapter 19.

 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So, he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.

Luke 19:5-6

Did you catch that? Zacchaeus had joy not in his material things, his house, his money, his friends or his parties. His joy came from receiving Jesus! Are you receiving Jesus joyfully this Christmas? He has an amazing gift for you – the gift of himself.

All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

Isaiah 7:14

A few weeks ago a friend of mine invited me to a Natalie Grant Christmas concert, I hesitated at first but then just decided to go. As I stood there in a large crowd of people at this Christian concert, I could feel Jesus with me. It was almost as if I were the only one in the room. Mac Powell who was the opening artist of the night, walked up to the mic and sang these words.

God of wonders beyond our galaxy
You are holy, holy
The universe declares Your majesty
You are holy, holy
Lord of heaven and earth

Third Day

I wept tears of joy. Jesus sees me, he knows me and he loves me deeply! This is a song that I used to sing in church when I was young and life wasn’t so hard. I hadn’t heard this song in a really long time and the nostalgia of it brought so much joy to my heart. Jesus was reminding me that he was with me in my childhood and that he is still here with me now. Throughout the rest of the concert I wept as Jesus continued to say to me over and over again; I love you! It was there I found my joy again in the presence of Jesus through worship. Isn’t that the meaning of Christmas! When the world was dark and weary God gave himself as the gift of joy. Here He was doing it again in my own heart, renewing my joy and giving me the best gift of all – himself.

Thank you, Jesus, for showing up in my dark season and giving me yourself as the ultimate fulfillment of joy and peace!

Holy means set apart or different from everything else. We can trust God to love us perfectly because God is set apart from the sin of this world. His love is not deceitful or selfish, He does not abuse or lie, he is Holy, and his love is perfect. He is set apart from human love which is flawed, and He loves us in a way that no one else can. He truly is a God of wonders!

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Luke 2:9-14

Maybe you are like me and are having a hard time finding joy this Christmas season. Maybe the Holiday season brings you a sadness you can’t explain. I want to encourage you to seek Jesus. Look for him in your everyday situations. He is Emmanuel, He is God with us! Jesus is with you; do you see him? Look for how God is showing himself to you, look for how he is working in your life, and then write it down in a journal. Label the journal something like; ways God has revealed himself to me or the many ways God is working in my life. Record the evidence of Jesus in your life so that when you find yourself in a season of sadness, you can go back to that journal and remind yourself of how God has been faithful in your life. If he was faithful then, he will be faithful now because Jesus is always with you in every season. Look for Jesus and you will find joy this Christmas because Jesus is the joy of Christmas!

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and will bring you back from captivity.

Jeremiah 29:13-14

I may not have the energy to decorate the Christmas tree or bake cookies this year, and yes, I am sad. But Jesus has been meeting me in my sadness giving me unexpected joy as I read a book to my children or sing songs of worship at a concert. And the odd thing is, I don’t feel convicted by his spirit to simply change my attitude but rather to receive his gift of love and joy and peace even in the midst of sadness. It’s like Jesus is unexpectantly showing up in random places and saying to me; I know you’re sad and that is okay but here is the gift of me, I am always here for you. It is joy in the midst of sadness, and it is a joy that is not of my own doing, but God’s.

This reminds me of a children’s song which says, I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, where?! The fruit of the spirit is Love, Joy, peace… so I have joy in my heart because the spirit of God lives there and he is the ultimate fulfillment of Joy. Ironically joy is literally my middle name. This can be difficult for me because many times I feel as if I can not live up to my own name and yet I don’t need to because the spirit of God is already doing that for me – down in my heart! Jesus came to this earth as a human baby so that he could do the same for you.

Are you willing to receive his gift for you? The gift of himself, the gift of perfect love joy and peace. Jesus truly is the best Christmas gift!


  1. Thank you for sharing. The realness of your struggle is refreshing with your testimony of how God met you. God is good and works so beautifully in our lives.

  2. Thank you for being so open. I love how God is meeting you in the midst of your sadness. May He continue to surprise you with His gifts and His presence.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *