Home Opinion Christmas Joy

Christmas Joy


Pastor Steve Ellison
We have many opportunities
for despair. We read
daily of terrorist attacks
abroad. We know that
even though they are only
occasionally successful,
these same terrorists are
feverishly working to do
on American soil what they
are doing elsewhere. Prices
outpace wages. Unemployment
numbers are high
but not nearly as high as
they would be if significant
numbers of people had not
given up hope and stopped
looking for work. Paradoxically,
at the same time if one
is searching for a worker
to hire it is difficult to find
someone really willing to
work. Many, if not most
of us, deal with a friend or
relative who is addicted
to alcohol, prescription
drugs, illegal drugs, pornography,
gambling, etc.
Racial distrust keeps many
of us from being able to see
issues rationally and prevents
solutions from being
found. Large numbers in
our society have difficulty
functioning because of a
struggle with depression.
Crushing debt is crippling
every level of government
as well as families. The
pressures of materialism
surrounding Christmas and
the pressures brought on
by family gatherings and
work-place parties create
much misery for those
already in crisis because
of the problems described
above. But…. there is good
news, no great news!
Joy, which is infinitely
better than comfort and
happiness, can be found.
The things described above
are not the problem. They
are symptoms of the real
problem. The real problem
is separation from God.
Mankind is created in the
image of God and for fellowship
with God. Certainly the
image is marred and corrupted.
Our sin has made
the image of God in us virtually
impossible to see. The
aforementioned symptoms
are indisputable evidence.
Certainly the intended fellowship
has been broken.
In the most loving act imaginable,
God has made a way
for us to be restored to
the relationship for which
we were created. God the
Father sent God the Son to
earth to live among fallen
creatures, to become one of
them. God the Son willingly
left His throne in heaven
to be vilely mistreated by
those He came to help.
On the cross, Father and
Son experienced exactly
that which is mankind’s
problem: separation and
broken fellowship. The
sinless, innocent Christ’s
payment on the cross for
our sin made it possible for
us to be restored to right
relationship with God, and
thus the ability to have joy.
King David, after repenting
of multiple heinous
sins, wrote: “Restore to me
the joy of Your salvation”
(Psalm 51:12, NASU).
So during this Christmas
season as circumstances
and pressures pile up on
you, rather than succumb
to despair why not respond
with grace under pressure?
Many around you are struggling
to bear up under some
very heavy weight. Your
gracious behavior will be
a fragrant aroma of life
to many who desperately
need it. But you may have
the ability to do much,
much more. Our traditions
tell us to give gifts during
this holiday season. If you
know Christ as your Savior,
you are in possession of
the greatest gift of all, the
gospel. Many around you
are in desperate need of
the good news that Jesus
stands ready to forgive
and restore. Because of
the Christmas season and
because of the pressures
already mentioned, many
people are more ready to
listen to a gospel presentation.
The pressures they
feel just may help them to
see that they cannot face
life alone. They need a
Savior who will bring real
joy now and eternity in
heaven to boot. Please
do not horde this most
precious of all gifts. Tell
people about the Savior
they desperately need.

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