“But the angel said to them, do not be afraid. I bring you good news
that will cause great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:10
Read Luke 1:46-56
Children, young and old, look forward to Christmas morning all year long. The latest greatest toys, electronics, shoes and clothing items dance in their heads until the moment finally comes. As the paper blankets the floor amid squeals of delight, mommas and daddies look on with pride at the joyful faces the excitement brings.
One of my favorite gifts as a child was a pair of white Alabama Keds tennis shoes. From the moment I saw them in the store, I had been dreaming of how perfect they would look with my Alabama sweatshirt on game day. Finally, I was handed a slender rectangular package and I just knew. This was it; they were finally mine! I tore open that package in record time and placed those shoes upon my feet in victory! What joy filled my heart! All my little dreams had come true in that moment.
Christmas gifts bring great joy because they are given with love. In the same way, Mary expressed great joy over the gift the Lord bestowed upon her. An unexpected pregnancy. A son who would be the savior of the world. Jesus’ earthly mother expressed her joy in song praising God for his faithfulness and blessings. This same joy that Mary experienced through the miraculous birth of her son carried her through his exceptional childhood, his miraculous ministry and his heartbreaking sacrifice. No matter what was going on around them, Mary stood by his side with that same heart of joyful gratitude.
Eventually, my beloved shoes got dirty and worn. I quit wearing them because the next great thing had come along and those Alabama Keds inched further and further to the back of the closet. But the Joy that Jesus brings is everlasting. It isn’t dependent on our circumstances or the next great thing. If we are in an intimate relationship with Jesus our joy is made complete in him.
The joyful luster of our Christmas gifts fades away over time. But we can find everlasting joy in the gift that is Jesus Christ. We hang our stockings out on Christmas Eve to receive little treats and trinkets. Let’s hang our trust on the Savior of the World and let his joy be our strength.
Family Activity: Have everyone answer these questions:
What is the best gift you ever received?
What is the best give you ever gave?