Just as peace is not the absence of war, joy is not the dulling of misery. Listen to Psalm 4:7: “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” We’ve all been at gathering when the food and wine at the table, and the company surround it, elevate our joy and make us feel like we never want to leave. But God’s gift of joy is greater than that.
These are experiences that tell us that our joy is somewhere other than where it should be. If we’re depressed, there’s a reason…and it’s not God. If we’re anxious, there’s a reason…and it’s not God. If we’re bitter and unforgiving, there’s a reason…but it’s not God.
Joy relieves us of the obligation to depression, anxiety, and bitterness. Our joy speaks sense into us. Our joy safeguards us. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live a life that is dictated by this emotional weight. I want emotions that keep me high. And when my life is focused on God and centered on Christ, the emotion of joy keep me guarded from all other things.
This is God’s Christmas gift to us, through His Son, Jesus Christ.