Saturday, December 16, 2017

Tidings Of Comfort and Joy

Christmas brings with it great meaning and for some great difficulty. It's the time when our losses are felt deeply once more, and the life changes that come with those losses are greatly emphasized. This is especially true when attending attending family gatherings and parties or being alone. For me, the reminders and thoughts of what Christmas is really about make the difference between feeling sadness or joy.

I find it interesting that in the Christmas carol "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" it speaks of tidings of comfort and joy." Why would comfort and joy go together? Maybe because joy is much different than happiness. Many of us think of joy as something similar to happiness. Happiness is based on circumstance and is fleeting. Joy is based on the certainty of Christ, and the agape love of a Father who gave everything for His children. What a wonderful gift God has given us! There is a magnificent assurance of Heaven after this short life, in which we will all be fully healed in God's presence. There have been times when I was mad at God for what He let me go through in my life, but when I thought about what Jesus lived through, it changed my whole way of thinking. God chose for Jesus to be born in a manger, and to be raised by a poor family. Jesus chose to be homeless and live with so little. Everything was for us, he suffered to save us from our sin. Now we live under a new covenant and the only sacrifice was and to this day remains just one- him. How amazing is that?

Yes life is hard and it certainly can be unfair. But we live with God's mercy and grace all because of Jesus! This is the same infant Jesus we celebrate on Christmas. Because of him we don't get the punishment we deserve and we get the grace that we don't deserve. We receive God's sustaining grace every day and his saving grace to allow us into Heaven when we die. Thank you God for giving me so much! Talk about a fulfilled promise! Read about this promise in the Old Testament as far back as Isaiah: "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14)

Take great comfort that we have a God who stands on His promises. Over and over we can read in the Bible about how God will love us forever (Jer. 31:3), never leave (Heb. 13:5), provide (Gen. 22:14), protect (Is. 64:8) and forgive (1 John 1:9). The list goes on and on. What a comfort that is! And what a joy that the greatest gift is Jesus! God also promises to fill our hearts with joy in John 15 and 16, we just need to make room! The more we empty our hearts, the more room we have to be filled with lasting, meaningful joy!

Oh Precious Father, thank you for Your amazing sacrificial love that gave us a savior. Thank You that through him we have unending mercy and grace, and will get to be with You one day. Thank you for always hearing our prayers and doing what is best in the perfect plan that You have for us. Help us to accept that Your ways are so much higher than ours. Help us to embrace the joy of Christ in Christmas and to focus on You and Jesus, not on temporary circumstances. Help us to remember that you are in control.  Thank You for loving me just the way I am. I love You Lord, I praise and worship You for all that You are. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Tidings of comfort and joy to you this Christmas!