The Gift of God: Joy!

By Campus Missionary Mary Rowler,

Christmas is coming! Haven’t you heard? It comes around this time every year, and it brings with it the three brothers: stress, worry, and panic. They invade every household and bring their negativity along with them. Instead of focusing on the true reason for Christmas, we let finding the perfect gift, putting up the perfect decorations, and having the perfect party consume our attention. It’s a dark world indeed when we pretend to celebrate the birth of Jesus – and in reality, all we’re really thinking about is what our aunt thinks of our house.

Psalm 126 puts us straight. It recognizes that God has done great things for us. The greatest thing he’s ever done is sacrifice his Son. He allowed Jesus to be born as a fragile human in a dirty stable so that he could grow up and save the world. The words of this Psalm are appropriate indeed. They are the reaction we should have to our celebration of Christmas:

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy” (verses 1-2).

When Jesus arrived on this earth, he restored the fortunes of his people. This is the most amazing news there has ever been, and we should be filled with laughter and joy. What could be more joyful? We’re forgiven. We’re saved. We’re free. There are Christmas songs for a reason – what better way to rejoice than with singing?

But even as the Psalmist rejoices, he recognizes that he is sinful. This is something we can also recognize as we look at the way we “celebrate” Christmas. The Psalmist asks, “Restore our fortunes, O Lord” (verse 4). Let us ask that today. Let us ask God to remind us of the joy that is the Christmas story.