Advent Devotions 2017
Day Fifteen
December 17, 2017

Wait… What? Where’s Christmas Joy?

I admit it: I have trouble finding joy during the Christmas season. It’s odd cringing at all the red and green, not going caroling or wrapping presents till all hours of the night. I feel a little bad about it and perhaps even a bit grumpy.

I mean, what’s the point of singing “Joy to the world” when you just don’t feel any joy? Christmas seems to barrel in on our lives, and delicate Joy gets a skinned knee as I dash about, gathering presents, lighting up the trees, and baking for the cookie exchanges. I search hard for Joy, while being compelled to decorate, sing, bake and buy till the cows come home – or at least until the Christmas Joy abounds.

No amount of roasting chestnuts by an open fire brings it. Christmas should be a perfect blend of spices and carols and presents and just general jolly-ness, right?  I mean, Deck the halls with those wonderful boughs…fa la la la…In the midst of this, where is Joy?

But wait…Do you hear what I hear?

Like a deep wellspring, shimmering just beneath us, Joy breaks through, rises up, and overflows us with this amazingly complex gift of wonder, promise, and new life – a continuous overflow of refreshment that cannot be conjured up by my human efforts.

But wait…Do you see what I see?

Deep beneath the frantic, dry soil of the Christmas hustle and bustle, something bubbles up and begins to grow. In spite of all my efforts, Joy makes an entrance. She comes forth in spite of my “dark nights of the soul” and maybe even a little “gnashing of the teeth.”

Wait…What? Where’s this Christmas Joy?

Here’s the reality: Joy is a gift. She comes in spite of my efforts. Even on the darkest, coldest night up on a lonely hill, watching the night sky for a sign— She comes in spite of fear and trembling, She overcomes…like an enormous star shining promise and light on a shivering people.

“…there ahead of them went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.”
Matthew 2:9b-10

Wait…There it is…There’s Joy…there’s the gift…I’ve had it all along…We all have.

Scripture says, “What happens when we live God’s way…He brings gifts into our lives…”
Galatians 5:22, The Message

Gifts like Joy are more than anything we can think of or imagine…Thank you, Lord, for this amazing gift of Joy.

Written & Art by Beth Stuhlman