Satisfy us in the morning with your faithful love so that we may shout with joy and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14 CSB)
The Christmas story evokes lots of emotions, but the most important might be joy.
Joy means cheerfulness or gladness. Joy is what you feel when you win something. It’s what you feel on a long weekend. It’s the feeling you get watching your favorite movie or eating your favorite meal. It’s when you need an exclamation point (or three!!!) to describe how happy you are, or how much fun you’re having.
What makes joy the proper response to Christmas? As the angels explain to the shepherds, at Christmas, a Savior has come!
We all need a savior. We all need something to make us feel like we matter, to help us belong, to give us purpose. Some people turn to money, to physical attractiveness, to a career, to a political cause, to a relationship… all of these are “saviors” in their own way. The problem is, these saviors let us down. As The 1975 says, “I know you’re looking for salvation in the secular age, but girl I’m not your savior.”
But at Christmas, Jesus comes to truly save us. He doesn’t just rescue us from our current situation and take us somewhere better. He doesn’t merely help us cope with our problems and insecurities. He doesn’t discount our troubles and tell us to be optimistic. Instead, he addresses the root of our problem and our world’s problem— sin.
He lives, dies, and is raised to free us from sin, so that in Him we can be forgiven, have our shame removed, and receive the power in His Spirit to pursue love and righteousness. In Him, we have hope that a heavenly Kingdom exists with true liberty and justice for all. We have marching orders to pray for and build this Kingdom in our world now.
And when we come to truly know Jesus as our Savior and King, we realize that His salvation is a result of His faithful love for us. When we see the love He has for us, our hearts can’t help but rejoice.
As Charles Spurgeon writes, “The fact that the Infinite loves an insignificant creature, a fleeting moth, a declining shadow— isn’t this amazing? That God pities me I can understand. That God reaches down and has mercy on me I can comprehend. But for Him to love me, for the pure to love a sinner, for the infinitely great to love a worm, is matchless, a miracle of miracles!”
At Christmas, God is bringing us what we truly want and need most. He’s giving us what we were made for. He is saving us. Not because He must, but because He loves us.
And this is reason for joy.