JOY TO THE WORLD
December 17, 2022
By Stacee Helton
A few years ago, I received the gift of a very nice, very giant Christmas ornament that reads “JOY”. The letters are made of red and black plaid and it really is a pretty decoration. While it is way too big for my tree, I have chosen to use it as a door hanger/decor item, proudly hanging it on my closet door knob, in our living room. While it is very “Christmas-y”, and I love to display it, there has always been something about it that has just bothered me.
The folks who designed this lovely decoration chose to attach the twine to the top of the “J” and the left branch of the “Y”. It’s an obvious design flaw, because when it hangs from anything, it will not hang straight. Never, never, no not ever… and it drives me nuts! The rest of that “Y” is just too heavy and it hangs very crooked. It is the only thing I can see, when I look at it. I don’t see the lovely pattern. I don’t think of Christmas. I can’t see the JOY!!! I only see the problem…
At this point, I’m certain that you know where I’m headed with today’s post. This is supposed to be a season of joy! A time to remember what Jesus did for us, by choosing to be born as a baby, and then choosing to die a horrible, criminal’s death, that He did not deserve… just so that you and I could have the hope of spending our eternity in Heaven with Him. It’s supposed to be a time when joy abounds, because loved ones come home, or our favorite ornaments remind us of simpler, wonderful times, or snow falls on the ground… or anything that brings us an extra dose of Christmas cheer.
But so often, this just isn’t the case for many. Christmas can stir up memories of loved ones, who are no longer living with us on Earth, and now live only in our minds and in our hearts. Even those of us who truly know and believe that we will see them again one day can be sad, because they aren’t physically with us. Or maybe we have loved ones who are incarcerated or missing, or have chosen to no longer come around, and we ache to see them; to have things be the way they used to be, even for a day. Or maybe they simply can’t get off work this year, and we miss them terribly. There is no happiness in any of these things… but there can still be joy, because it’s a choice, and it isn’t found in our circumstances. It is found in Jesus!
This week, my son has returned home from his first semester in college and has been bouncing back from having all four of his wisdom teeth removed early in the week. I casually mentioned yesterday about my “strong dislike” of the way in which my JOY decoration hangs so crookedly. I saw the wheels in his head turning, and when I came back into the living room later, there was the sign… hanging straight as can be. He had solved the problem by putting a knot in the string, and simply making the length of the twine shorter. (Why didn’t I think of that?).
Don’t lose your joy this season, over things that you can’t change, or that seem impossible. God knows what we need, and is ready to supply the joy we long for. We just need to search for it, in Him alone… and trust Him to straighten things out for us, in His way and in His perfect time. In the meantime, choose joy! And have a very Merry Christmas!