I have a lot of friends who are hurting this Christmas season. Broken…abused…challenged…confused. Each day as I am reminded of their situations and prompted to pray, one thing I pray for, is joy. We hear that word through many Christmas songs… especially “Joy to the World” but what about when joy doesn’t seem to come to our world.
While reading my Advent devotion this morning (which I LOVE by the way), I was a reminded of this great passage in the little Old Testament book of Habbakkuk:
“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
And there are no grapes on the vines;
Even though the olive crop fails,
And the fields lie empty and barren;
Even though the flocks die in the fields,
And the cattle barns are empty,
Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
Perhaps the friends on my heart might say it this way…
“Even though the job opportunities don’t blossom,
And I see no fruit from my labor,
Even though friends fail me, and family fails me, and I fail me,
And my home is empty and barren,
Even though my loved ones have died,
And my heart is empty,
YET, we can rejoice, we will rejoice, we must rejoice.”
And even when that seems impossible, I’ve been reminded that joy doesn’t come in any of those things. Joy comes from the God of our salvation, alone, no where else, no one else. That God is One who is always blossoming, never failing, abundant and full, never empty and barren.
And the joy comes when we shift our focus to Him… And, as the songs says, we “Repeat the sounding joy!”… When we choose consciously to remember and repeat, again and again, the Sovereign One who reigns and is in control even when our lives feel wildly out of control. That joy comes when we remember and repeat His love that comes to us in those moments of need, that came to us as a baby this Advent. We remember and repeat, to ourselves and to each other because we all need reminding. We find joy not in our circumstances, but in our cross-bound, infant King. And with that joy, comes HOPE! Hope that we are not forgotten in this crazy world. HOPE that gets us through each day. HOPE that whether better days come here on this earth or not until we’re in Heaven with him, they WILL come, just as sure as He came that first Christmas.
So even if your life is falling apart this Christmas… We can still rejoice! We can join with the “fields, floods, rocks, hills, and plains” to repeat that joy over and over and over again reminding ourselves and each other of the God who Saves, the God who reigns, the God who alone brings joy and restores our hope.
Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.