What You Don’t Have (Or Need) This Christmas

When the angels tore open the heavens to announce to the shepherds, “we bring you good news of great joy,” they didn’t say, “we bring you good news of great happiness.”

That was intentional.

The word the angels used for “joy” is the cognate word, “xarĂ¡,” which means “joy because of the knowledge of God’s grace.”

Joy is a deeply, inward emotional state.

Happiness extends from external circumstances around you.

Joy is stable.

Happiness is wobbly.

It’s challenging to be happy this Christmas season. If not most, many are soul-fatigued by the political banter, the tug-o-war between shutdowns and “open-ups,” and the sense that we have little understanding of control or progress in our lives. Happiness is fleeting nowadays.

However, happiness isn’t the basis of the message of the angels. External circumstances shift like ice packs on Lake Michigan.

Joy is what the angels proclaim this season, and it comes from the understanding of what Jesus said,

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

John 16

The angel’s message is one based on Jesus. It is one entrenched in the loving heart of a heavenly Father. It is one interwoven into the tapestry of the history of everything, that a broken universe is redeemed by the future resurrection of a baby in a manger.

And while happiness is what you seek, Joy is what you have, and it is so much better.


Published by Todd Stocker

I love my family, music, writing and the Minnesota Vikings!

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