What words would you use to describe Christmas? The list of words may be endless. Here are a few: ‘joy,’ ‘peace,’ ‘anticipation,’ ‘fun,’ ‘family,’ ‘home,’ ‘friends,’ ‘memories,’ ‘Christ,’ ‘Church,’ and ‘gift.’ These words speak to the anticipation of Christmas. Christmas is the favorite time of year for many. I say, “Many,” because not everyone looks forward to Christmas, like they once did. When certain things change in our lives, we may dread Christmas. Our goal may simply be just to get through the holidays. Since my Dad passed away, I have mixed thoughts and feelings about Christmas. I am learning to have empathy for people who no longer look forward to Christmas; they actually dread the holidays. I still look forward to Christmas. And now, with grandchildren, Christmas holds lots of anticipation. However, the chords of sadness still play in my heart and draw me back to precious memories with Dad at Christmas time. I am very thankful for all those memories. I am also sad for others who have lost loved ones; or for those whose family life has changed because of divorce, the loss of a job, or the loss of what used to be a great friendship. I wish I could take away their sadness, their hurt, and their loneliness. But I cannot take away any of those things.
However, I do know the One who is quite capable of doing that. Jesus Christ is the One who is capable of taking away the sadness, the hurt, and the loneliness. He takes away those things by providing the gift of eternal life. With the gift of eternal life, Jesus provides tremendous anticipation and joy! John describes great anticipation in Revelation 21:4, “He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Another verse that helps us to understand the meaning of eternal life is John 17:3, which says, “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” The gift of eternal life is available right now! We are able to experience that great gift right now! A restored relationship with God is the reason Jesus came the first time. A restored relationship with God is the gift that Jesus provided the very first Christmas! While some of our heart chords may tone sadness during the holidays, Jesus changes those chords to ring joy ~ for all eternity!
Jesus is the source of joy at Christmas!