But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” – Luke 2:10-12
Joy. I’d like to have more joy in my life. How about you? Would you like more joy as well? I imagine most people would agree on this point.
Proverbs 17:22 (ESV) says that “a joyful heart is good medicine.” Joy is one of the fruits of the spirit listed in Galatians 5:22. Nehemiah 8:10 says that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Scripture talks a lot about joy. This tells me joy is important and something the Lord wants us to grab hold of.
The word “joy” is one we hear a lot more often during the Christmas season. As we sing “Joy to the World,” our hearts feel the joy deep within. In general, most people are more joyful in the month of December. Joy is more tangible as we bake Christmas cookies, watch Christmas movies, sing Christmas carols, and so on. How wonderful it would be if we could hold onto that joy all year long!
But how can we have joy when life is hard, when we get bad news, when we face obstacles, when we have endless doctors’ appointments, when we face severe pain, when we can’t seem to put one foot in front of the other?
I believe faith is a big part of the equation. In one Christmas song we sing the words, “O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!” Interestingly enough, the words “faithful” and “joyful” are back-to-back. This recently struck me and I was in awe that this clue on how to live a joyful life was right there in front of me. A faithful life leads to a joyful life.
We can have joy in hard times because we have faith in hard times. We learn to rely on our God, knowing full well that God’s purpose cannot be thwarted (Job 42:2). Knowing that God acts on the behalf of those who wait for Him (Isaiah 64:4). And knowing that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
The verses above help increase our faith and faith increases our joy. When we have strong faith in the Lord, knowing that He is in full control, we can keep His joy in our hearts. Christmas is one day out of the year when we celebrate the birth of our Savior. But on the remaining 364 days in the year, we still have Jesus, we can still worship our Savior, and we can still have joy.