Monday, December 26, 2011

Living the Joy of Christmas all Year Long

13Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.  14And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.  -Romans 15:13, 14 (KJV) 

I know people often feel a little worn out after Christmas and this is certainly understandable.  Christmas is a blessed yet hectic time of year.  However, I was thinking a little while ago about how much I enjoy the day after Christmas.  The pressure is now off, there are no more gifts to buy, no more decorations to put up, no more presents to wrap, and no more Christmas dinners to attend.  Today, and probably for the next few days, we can enjoy all those Christmas dinner leftovers, which include Christmas cookies and strong coffee, and we still have all the lights and decorations to enjoy a while longer before we take them down for another year.  About those decorations; don’t be in too big a hurry to take them down.  Why not enjoy them for a few more days?  You went to a lot of trouble to put up the tree and the lights.  Relax, sit back and enjoy them another day or two. 

This time of year we celebrate the birth of Christ, and the Scripture teaches we are to live out the joy of the Lord year round.  Paul the Apostle’s prayer for believers was for them to be filled with the joy of the Lord and to “abound in hope…”   If we are abounding in hope this means we are growing in hope all of the time, day after day, and year after year.  Living out the “good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10) which the angel spoke of on the night of Jesus’ birth involves an ongoing process of faith through which we live out the wonder of Christmas year-round.   

I hate to think the only time I was excited about my faith in Christ was at Christmas or Easter, or even just on Sunday.  Instead, the joy we experience in Christ is to be a continuing experience in which we have joy and we express this joy in tangible ways.  In a world filled with violence and hatred people need to know there is still hope and joy in peoples’  lives.  Jesus Christ brings this blessed hope and He empowers us to express it to those around us. 

Seek to be more loving, kind, compassionate, patient, and forgiving.  Do something nice for someone with no thought of a reward or getting anything in return.  As Jesus said, be willing to go the extra mile for the one who asks (Matthew 5:41).  The light of Jesus was meant to shine from our lives, so shine it.  The joy Christ brings was meant to be experienced, so start being joyful.  Joy comes when Christ reigns in the heart.  Let Christ reign in your heart today and all the coming year.

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