Joy is not the same as happiness, although we’ve been led to believe that the two are interchangeable. Joy is a feeling that comes from faith in abiding goodness—a goodness that exists but can’t always be readily seen or felt.
Christmas is about the joy we can feel because of God’s promise and God’s action—God’s extraordinary act of love for humanity. God chooses to live in and among what God created in human flesh.
God coming to us as Emmanuel through the miracle of Christmas is a reminder that God walks with us, even in times that are not joyful. Even when hearts overflow with sadness that seems out of step with the season, we can have sure faith that we serve a God who has known pain and therefore knows our pain.
This message is an excerpt from a devotional by Denise Rector in the December 2017 issue of Gather magazine. Today, on Christmas Eve, we observe the Nativity of Our Lord I (Luke 2:1-14 [15-20] ).
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