The joy of Christmas is here, even in the midst of sorrow

Published 7:14 am Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Last week I wrote about the joy of Christmas that is found in the songs of the season. The joy of Christmas is real and, yet, we must acknowledge the challenges during this season. Nothing illustrates the challenges more than events like last Friday in Connecticut.

My Christmas schedule had been set for months and on Friday evening I was expected to sing at the local Breast Cancer Survival Group’s annual Christmas party. It is always a great time.

I had chosen the obvious songs like “Jungle Bells,” “Rudolph,” and “Winter Wonderland.” I expected to bring the joy of Christmas to them and the brightness of the season shines exceedingly in those upbeat and fun songs.

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But (what a big word!) that tragedy in Connecticut was too big to ignore. After being shocked at the large number of innocents lost, and in a place that should be safe, I wondered how would those songs sound?

Then, there was church on Sunday. In the schedule of the lighting of our Advent candles, the candle to be lit and emphasized was the Candle of Joy. There is that word again: joy. Who could possible feel any joy or hope after being inundated with such horrid news?

I prayed, “Lord, give me a message that would speak of your love and the joy of Christmas in the midst of a fallen world.” I think He answered my prayer.

God has never promised us a primrose path upon which to walk. In fact, God has been very honest. His Son, the One we celebrate during this season, was absolutely clear, “In this world you will have trouble.” There is no “maybe” to it, “you will have trouble.”

I did not finish the verse, though. Jesus continued with His words, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Suddenly, I saw that glimmer of hope that is found only in Jesus and where there is hope there can be joy.

The joy of Christmas is something that cannot be abrogated. It cannot be annulled or voided by any act of mankind, no matter how heinous.

Job, that Old Testament character who certainly had his share of troubles and woes, realized that. At the last of that Book, Job says to God, “I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted.” In other words, nothing that Almighty God has foreordained can be negated by the limited power of God’s adversaries.
God’s enemies are just as real as His love and many times they seem to hold sway over our emotions. We hang our heads as if the evil perpetrated upon us wins. That is not true and the babe born in a manger has come to “overcome” and so can we through Him.
As painful as our troubles can be, thankfully, they are temporary. Nothing can separate us from the love of God and that is real joy!