Christmas is different - but Christ is the same: JOY
(By Chloe Dietz)
What a year 2020 has been! If asked what kinds of emotions you have felt this year, I don’t suspect joy is one of them. And yet, here we are, embarking on what is supposed to be the ‘most wonderful time of the year’. For many of us, this Christmas will look and feel quite different. In many ways, this might cause feelings of sadness in us, knowing that perhaps we won't be able to celebrate with those we love or experience this season in ways we have done before. However, all is not lost. Despite the challenges and uncertainty this year has presented us with, there is still joy to be found and the best part is that you can experience this in full, too.
For Christians, there is great anticipation for this time of year. For us, this time of year marks the coming of Jesus into the world, as a child, with the hope that all will be made right through Him. Jesus came for everyone. He came so that we might feel joy in every circumstance. Joy, unlike happiness, is not simply an emotion we feel that comes and goes with the seasons or situations we’re in. Joy is a choice, and we can choose to feel joyful despite what we are going through, and this is wonderful news. The bible tells us:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,” (James 1:2)
Many of us have faced trials this year, of all different kinds. Yet, despite these difficulties, there is hope. Hope has a name - His name is Jesus. Jesus came to bring joy to the world, so that through Him we might be forgiven for what we have done and be made right with God. We have all messed up, and we have all done wrong things. This hurts the One who created us, God in heaven. And unfortunately, our actions have consequences. But, God didn’t want to give up on us that easily. Because God loves us with an ever-lasting, never-fading, always-constant love, He decided to do something about this. God chose to send His one and only Son into this world, in the form of a baby, to:
save us and redeem us as His own,
call us back home into the arms of a loving Father who loves us more than we will ever know,
take away all of the bad things we have ever said, committed or thought
take them upon Himself.
This is why Jesus died - so that we might be forgiven for what we have done and to enter into a right relationship with God again, just like He has designed us for.
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
It is very easy to question how it is possible to find joy in a world of pandemics and lockdowns. Though this world is constantly changing and there is much uncertainty for what lies ahead, there is always hope. Hope has a name, and His name is Jesus. Jesus is constant. Jesus never changes. His love for you is eternal, and it is the best gift you could ever receive. Jesus promises joy through dark times, peace through turbulent situations and a love that will never fade. He offers this to you, free of charge.
My prayer for you is that during this season of festivities and fun, and despite what this year has been for you, you may still find joy and have hope through it all. Joy and hope go hand in hand. Because there is hope, we can have joy! The message of Jesus is one of joy. Jesus loves you so much that He chose to come into this world, a world full of hurt and pain, to make a way for us to be reconciled and redeemed for what we have done. It was all for love that Jesus came. Though Christmas may feel different, Christ is the same. Jesus offers us joy. And that is something worth holding on to.