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Where is Joy @ Christmas?
By Rev. Dr. Michael Eagle Pastor, Grant AME - Long Beach
Published December 24, 2020

Pastor Michael W. Eagle, Sr. 

Scripture: Luke 2: 10, 11

This time of the year, regardless of religious or non-religious persuasions, we, as a people, can find ourselves driven toward festive, joyous occasions of celebration and religious observances.

Additionally, we find ourselves driven by consumerism, commercialism, nostalgia, and big business “to give and to receive,” as well as enjoy heartwarming observances with food, drink, music, good company, Christmas trees, lights, and mistletoe. We go to great lengths to make the atmosphere around us festive, no matter what financial situation we find ourselves.

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However, this year is different – this year, consumerism, nostalgia, or the desire to give and receive is not driving us. This year, a virus drives us. Covid is affecting our joy @ Christmastime!

This year, Covid – 19, a dangerous, contagious, airborne pathogen, threatens and kills indiscriminately, regardless of race, creed, color, or finances. It is driving us no matter who we are, what we do, or whom we know!

It is changing our way of thinking. It is changing our way of worshipping. It is changing our way of life, and some of us are tired of Covid driving our life. We are tired of restrictions! We are tired of hearing of the dying and tired of lockdowns! It is driving us to lose our joy @ Christmastime!

How do we get our joy back at Christmas? How do we get joy when someone’s business is gone, their job has gone, a relative has gone, traveling is curtailed, and someone contemplates suicide?
How do we get our joy back when you are hurting so bad that you will not even say?

We seek answers in vaccinations; we seek answers in face coverings, gloves, and hand washing, but are not those only Band-Aids? Speaking from a Christian perspective, shouldn’t we seek prayer collectively around the world, along with social distancing?

Some of us grew up hearing, “Prayer changes things.” Our grandmothers prayed! The preachers prayed! Church folk got together on prayer nights, prayed, and prayed until something happened, and then kept on praying!

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They accepted medicine, but did not rely on medicine – they relied on King Jesus! They repeatedly shouted, “He is a doctor in the sick room.” They gave gifts and received gifts at Christmas but did not put sickness, illness, or problems above their faith in Jesus!

The Christian’s observance of Christmas centered on the birth of the Son of God, Jesus the Christ, as scripture reads, “By His stripes, we are healed.” The joy of a wrapped new car in the driveway – was a bonus! The joy of a new diamond ring on your finger – was a bonus! The joy of a warm cozy family at the dinner table singing Christmas carols – a bonus!

Luke 2: 10 – 11 reads, “But the angel said to them ‘do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.'”

What does that mean to you? – It means you can have joy even when you are lonely! Joy, if you do not get a “thank you for all you have done.” Joy, through your emotional and physical pain! Joy, when things do not go your way! Joy when you think no one cares! Joy when you are out of work! Joy when you hurt so bad you cannot even say! Joy at Christmas just because Jesus cares!

Isaiah 9:6 says, “For unto us a child is born, to us, a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.”

Ephesians 1: 13-14 reads, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance, until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of His glory.”

Translation: Joy at Christmas time! You may not know about you, but I know about me! I am saved: and got some joy about it!

You may not know about yourself, but let me tell you about myself! I am forgiven and got some joy about it! God loves us, and we ought to have some joy about it!

The Christmas season is not about toys; it is about joys! “Joy, joy, unspeakable joy…the world did not give it, and the world cannot take it away.” Jesus came to be a blessing – and is coming back to be a ruler! Joy!

He was “bruised for our transgressions” and “by His stripes, we are healed.” Joy! He is “The joy of our salvation!” “The Bright and Morning Star!” “The wheel in the middle of the wheel.”
That is joy and good news!

Just knowing that He cares gives us a reason to have joy! Knowing that He lives gives us a reason to have joy! Knowing He covers sin, cancels sin, diminishes sin, and takes away all sin – is a reason for joy!

Jesus is our joy at Christmastime!

Categories: Religion
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