This holiday season has been filled with carols and songs, as usual. During church one morning, however, we sang a new version of "Joy to the World," a la Chris Tomlin. The song has the traditional lyrics but also includes a new refrain:
As I sang those words, I felt the joy rising inside my body. I couldn't hold back the tears, and I couldn't suppress the smile on my face. I listened to the entire congregation sing together, and I truly felt a sense of peace and happiness. For the first time in a long time, I felt complete.
One of the things I'm learning is that joy shouldn't come only at Christmastime. Joy does not come from the baby in the manger; joy comes from the sacrifice that baby would later make. As tempting as it is to focus on the story of Jesus' birth, we must remember that Christmas, his birth, would hold no value for us if He had not died for us. Christmas is a wonderful holiday to celebrate the birth of the baby who would later save us, but it's also a perfect opportunity to celebrate his death and resurrection.
Throughout 2011, let's focus on the joy that comes from knowing Christ and his love for us!