Seasonal Joy

 

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The holiday season holds a special kind of glow. Gratitude and joy seem to fill people’s hearts during this time of year. From Thanksgiving dinner of sharing what we’re grateful for, to the joy of putting up trees and hanging wreaths. Its hard not to get caught up in all the exciting hustle and bustle of the “most wonderful time of the year”.

I love the holiday season. It makes me happy. This year we dove right into our christmas decorating the day after Thanksgiving. The tree is lit and the stockings are hung and everything is wonderful and cozy. It really is hard to be gloomy as you’re sitting by the fire place sipping hot chocolate and listening to christmas music. It brings an unusual element of peace and contentment.

I have been thinking a lot about the joy that comes with this time of year. As christians, we have every reason to be rejoicing in the season that honors the coming of our Lord and Savior into the world. Each year we remember and read the amazing story of a young peasant girl giving birth to a king. We marvel over the humble manger, the wise men traveling across the continent bearing precious gifts, and the angels bringing the good news to the shepherds in the night. Each year we are in awe over the glorious christmas story. As we ponder on the fact that the God of the universe stripped Himself of His glory and came down to earth, joy and gratitude fill our hearts.

That is why Christmas time is so special. His birth is the beginning of the story of our salvation. We spend a whole season celebrating, spreading cheer, throwing parties, hanging lights and giving gifts in its honor.

But as we get carried away in all the festivities, it seems we forget that little baby we celebrate didn’t stay a baby. That baby grew up and became a man. That man died on a cross, taking the blame of our sin upon His perfect self. Through His death and resurrection we have eternal life. We have the forgiveness of our sins and His righteousness which gives us boldness to stand before the throne of God and be accepted. Through His sacrifice we become children of God.

We have much, much more to celebrate than just His birth. We can rejoice in far more than the beginning of the gospel story. Because of the completed work of Jesus on the cross, we have ultimate joy. The kind of joy that never ceases. We have eternal life.  Because of the triumphant end of the gospel story we are forever forgiven. We are forever accepted.

This is a joy that does not fade when Christmas is over, and it is time to take down the lights and put away the tree. This is a joy that does not merely satisfy us during a season. It does not surface only during the holidays, when music and wrapping paper and ornaments light up the towns. This joy lasts all year round. The reality of our salvation brings endless celebration to our hearts.

So as much as the holiday season brings joy and many, many wonderful things, the holiday in the heart that has been forgiven never ends. Worship will continue to rise from the children of God long after Christmas is over, because every season is the most wonderful season for those who are saved by the blood of Christ.

 

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