Joy to the World

December 01, 2014

In love with this beautiful image from Brian Tulchaski and how it perfectly depicts the peaceful serene of winter after a big snowstorm.

And just like that, with a snap of a finger, with one tiny blink, Thanksgiving is over.

The fall decorations come down and the Christmas lights go up. The huge trees that were filled with brightly colored leaves of red and gold a few weeks ago are now bare and lonely as the snow flutters to the ground.

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. I love the sparkling lights, the beautifully wrapped packages, the continued togetherness of Thanksgiving into the whole month of December. I find contentment in attending holiday concerts, in crunching through feet of snow just to see those I haven’t seen in years, in watching my students as they perform on a beautiful Steinway piano surrounded by red and pink poinsettias, in baking great-grandma’s secret pastry recipes, in seeing the surprise on my family’s faces Christmas morning. But what about those who do not know the joy and hope that Christmas brings? What about those who celebrate Santa and Frosty and the holiday is really nothing more than a big credit card bill in January? What about those who celebrate the holiday, but do not have a greater purpose in all their festivities?

Christmas is not just another holiday, not just full of obligations to buy cheesy presents for family members you only see twice a year. Christmas is the time we set aside to remember that once upon a time in a faraway land, a baby boy was born in a lowly manger. A baby who was not just another precious newborn, but a baby that was God Himself, manifested in the flesh. A baby that came to the earth not simply to give his parents joy, but to be their Savior and King. A baby who was more than peacemaker, the One who is the pure embodiment of Peace itself.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. {Isaiah 9:6}

In 1741, George Frideric Handel wrote one of the most recognizable pieces of classical music literature: Messiah. From the most well-known “Hallelujah” chorus to other choruses that reflect the writings of Isaiah, Luke, and Matthew, the entire oratorio is an extended reflection on Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

Although Messiah was a work originally composed for Easter, it is now best associated with Christmas, and rightly so. For when Jesus came to the earth, He brought with Him the fulfillment of multiple prophesies. The Jewish nation had for generations looked for the One who would be their King, their Savior, their Everything. What they did not know, however, was how he would truly come to fulfill each of those prophecies. And during Christmas, this beautiful, wonderful season, we celebrate all that He came to represent: freedom, hope, joy, love, peace, faith, salvation, purity, forgiveness, humility, and life.

Jesus was intentional in every aspect of His earthly life. Everything He did followed a distinct, recognizable purpose: redeeming those around Him with His love and forgiveness, reaching out to those in need of peace, understanding, and life, showing the world that He came not to reject the law, but to fulfill the law.

This Christmas, my goal is to focus on Jesus, to focus on Him as He lived on the earth. I want to live every day this month with the intent of showing joy, for that is what Jesus brought to earth. I want my celebrations to touch someone else, to enable them to understand what Christmas really is all about. The presents are fun, the parties are thrilling, the merrymaking is exhilarating. But there is peace, there is contentment, there is love and there is joy in celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.

Joy to the World, the Lord has come!
Let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare Him room!
Let heaven and nature sing, Let heaven and nature sing,
Let heaven, let heaven and nature sing! — GF Handel

Will you join us on social media by tagging your posts with #ShesJoyful this holiday season? We want to know what makes your heart overflow with joy while you reflect on what Christmas means to you!