“Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will triumph in Yahweh; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!” Habakkuk 3:17-18
As a child, there was nothing that I anticipated more than opening presents on Christmas Eve. The anticipation and excitement was overwhelming as wrapping paper, tape, and boxes were tossed into piles so we could discover what those beautiful packages contained. As a child, I often “evaluated” how good Christmas had been based on the gift that I had received. As a Christ-follower and an adult, I know how messed up my priorities were. But if I’m really honest, I sometimes view Christmas the same way. Now my “evaluation” of how good Christmas has been is less about the gifts I receive than it is about the gifts that I was able to give to my family and those closest to me. If I’m really honest, sometimes my joy at Christmas can be based on finding the right gifts rather than in the God of my salvation.
While there is nothing wrong with giving or receiving gifts, Christmas joy really has nothing to do with our circumstance. Christmas joy allows us to look beyond what we do not have to see that in Jesus Christ we really have more than we could have ever dreamed. Perhaps this year the gifts under your tree will be a bit more scarce and less expensive. Don’t forget that even our Savior could not find even a simple room at an inn in which to be born. There were no trees, gifts, or lavish meals on that first Christmas. There was simply overwhelming joy because God was with us in the birth of Jesus, and that is reason enough to rejoice in the God of our salvation this Christmas!
Why do you think we often find it harder to be joyful when our circumstances are difficult?
How can you avoid focusing on gifts rather than on Jesus this Christmas?