A joyous Christmas happens when we choose to journey to meet Christ. Christmas motivates us to step outside of our everyday lives and experience the most momentous event in history. Let’s consider this idea of journeying to meet Christ in light of that first Christmas celebrated over 2000 years ago.
When she found out she was pregnant, Mary journeyed to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Pregnant with her own miracle baby, Elizabeth encouraged Mary. Mary then rejoiced in her personal journey with God. (Luke 1:39-56)
Mary and Joseph journeyed to Bethlehem for the census. The struggle to secure appropriate lodging resulted in possibly the most unassuming, simple entry into this world that God as flesh could make. (Luke 2:1-7)
The shepherds journeyed to see Jesus after being encouraged by the angels’ praise. The shepherds “told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child,” and they “went back to their fields and flocks, glorifying God for what the angels had told them.” (Luke 2:8-20)
The journeys taken that first Christmas point toward a journey each of us must take if we hope to truly experience a joyous Christmas. Consider the following aspects as you make the journey this year toward a joyous Christmas.
- Christmas intensifies feelings. The shepherds’ reaction to their journey as well as Mary’s expression during her visit with Elizabeth illustrate this point well. Unfortunately, bad feelings can intensify too. Focus expectations on Jesus rather than on the world’s view of Christmas to make sure good feelings intensify instead.
- Words impact Christmas joy. Elizabeth’s words encouraged Mary. The angel’s words encouraged the shepherds. In both cases, encouraging words resulted in tremendous joy that spread to others. Our words can destroy or build Christmas joy. Think before speaking at Christmas and also year round.
- A joyous Christmas comes from a focus on Jesus. Elizabeth’s encouragement focused on God. So did Mary’s response. The angels’ song focused on God. So did the shepherds’ response to that song as well as their response to seeing Jesus. All experienced a joyous first Christmas because of a focus on God through His Son’s birth. Then and still today, when Jesus is the focus, joy is the result.
Life constantly serves up a full menu of distractions. Biblical history shows this as much as our own calendars and checkbooks today. The journey to a joyous Christmas comes through a deliberate choice to push through, and most likely to push away, distractions and to instead deliberately focus on Jesus.