Here we are in December! And it’s Christmas again! Just yesterday, it was the 1st of January and we were looking forward to the New Year 2018 and what it held in stock. So, the mystery has been revealed and we have seen about 90% of the year. And what a year it has been!

Today, I’m not talking about the year, just focusing on Christmas time and its joys! Oh, Joy!!! We got to church last Sunday and the pastor just launched into the song, ‘Joy to the world’ and was it a joyous moment? The whole church joined in and we had a glorious time singing the song! It appeared everyone was happy that Christmas had come. He later explained that in these parts, it was increasingly obvious that the devil was stealing Christmas from us, because Christmas means joy, gladness of heart, sharing gifts, parties, celebrations; but recently, because of the economic downturn and hunger and depravity, a lot of people had nothing to look forward to and Christmas had become a very sorrowful and lonely time, devoid of the joy that we used to know. After all, what is Christmas without food in abundance, without parties and celebrations, without joy?

What is Christmas if you see the partying going on around and you are not a part of it, because you can’t afford to be? What is Christmas if you couldn’t pay your children’s school fees and they were denied the opportunity of continuing school? What is Christmas if you were sick but unable to afford a hospital visit? What is Christmas without a roof over your head? What is Christmas without chicken, turkey, jollof rice, music and dancing late into the night?

What is Christmas?

Before you get me wrong, let me explain that we know Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. But in these parts, we don’t just celebrate Him. Christmas time is when we also celebrate our lives, our friends, our family, the opportunity to live, our businesses, our jobs. Here, Christmas time is merged with end of year celebrations, such that even those who are not Christians have something to celebrate.

Here, the end of each year is celebrated like the death of the year; somewhat like ‘everything that came with 2018 is dying or dead, behold we look forward to a new year, like a new life or a new baby’. So if that season comes upon you and you are broke, sick, sad, jobless, unable to join in the celebrations, it is deeply felt. Today, we have a lot of people in that category! Hence the need to deliberately act contrary to the way you feel – rejoice.

So, joy to the world, the Lord is come! We rejoice always, regardless of our situation or circumstances. We rejoice because the Lord has come to give us salvation, healing, deliverance, a reason to live. We rejoice because weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. We rejoice because we know help is on the way. We rejoice because we know that our tomorrow will be better than today, because God hears our cry. We rejoice because we know I AM, Who has our seasons and times in His hand. We rejoice because we are not alone, Emmanuel has come, God with us.

As we prepare for Christmas this year, buying gifts, planning parties and so on, let us remember the less privileged among us. For a lot of people, it is the saddest part of the year, because Christmas tends to reveal to you how alone you really are, how poor, how ‘hopeless’. Put a smile on someone’s face this Christmas, bring joy to a home, a family, a friend, a colleague, a neighbor. Share the abundance you have been blessed with. Let someone know you care. Love someone deliberately this season, because indeed, joy has come to the world.

And for yourself, let the joy that we have in Christ fill your heart completely. Don’t allow anything to weigh you down. Cling to your joy, guard it jealously. Let the devil be put to shame. Let joy fill your world!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Xo64Q2ucQ8

JOY TO THE WORLD by Isaac Watts

  1. Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
    Let earth receive her King;
    Let every heart prepare Him room,
    And heav’n and nature sing,
    And heav’n and nature sing,
    And heav’n, and heav’n, and nature sing.
  2. Joy to the earth, 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.
  3. No more let sins and sorrows grow,
    Nor thorns infest the ground;
    He comes to make His blessings flow
    Far as the curse is found,
    Far as the curse is found,
    Far as, far as, the curse is found.
  4. He rules the world with truth and grace,
    And makes the nations prove
    The glories of His righteousness,
    And wonders of His love,
    And wonders of His love,
    And wonders, wonders, of His love.