Joyful, Joyful

How’s your Christmas preparation going? Is all your shopping done? (I asked one guy that and he looked at me like I had three heads and asked, “Is it the week of Christmas yet?”) Are all of your travel arrangements made? Do you have any parties or get-togethers left to attend or host? And, by the way, how’s your joy holding up?

The angel told the shepherds, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10). Even though we know that fact to be true, it seems like, at least at moments, we have more in common with Dr. Seuss’s Grinch than we do with the angels and shepherds. We allow overcrowded schedules, cranky shoppers, inept drivers, weird relatives and mental and physical exhaustion to dictate our state of mind.

How does that happen? To put it simply, we become victims of our culture. Romans 12:2 reminds us that we are not to “be conformed to this world.” Literally, what Paul is telling us is that we cannot allow our values, attitudes or behaviors to be molded by the culture we interact with on a daily basis. Rather, we, as Christ-followers, should be impacting our culture in such a way that everywhere we go “the fragrance of the knowledge of him” (2 Corinthians 2:14) should be noticed. Jesus said we should stand out as obviously as light does in the darkness (Matthew 5:14-16). Everything we do this Christmas season should, in some way, communicate the message of the angel, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people!”


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