If You Want to Lead a Life of Joy, Start at Christmas
It’s here. That time of year. Kettle bell ringers. Festive decorations. Office parties. Presents wrapped with bows. Lots of cards. A full mailbox. Crowded malls, crowded streets. And sometimes, if we can drag ourselves away from the noise, a question: What’s it all about?
I suspect everyone, if they really admit it, wants the same thing: a life of meaning, a life of peace, a life that matters, a life of joy.
But where do we start? We know it’s not in the massive accumulation. It won’t be the presents under the tree. We’ll get a little closer as we experience the warmth of friends and family. Still there are those who, for one reason or another, won’t get to experience even that.
I’m reminded of John. He was away from family. He was in the wilderness. His message was stern. In fact, he called his fellow countrymen a “brood of vipers.” He called for repentance, which meant in turn a message of condemnation. You see, they were missing something.
And he gave his life to that message. There must have been days of rain, bitter cold, and parching heat. His diet consisted of what was around him—locusts and honey. Even with that I suspect that entrée was not plated upon china. What was John’s secret? What allowed him to live with such passion and purpose?
It was the joy. Even as a baby, still in his mother’s womb, the Bible describes that, as Mary the mother of Jesus approached, John leapt for joy in his mother’s womb. He was glad to greet the Messiah. He was glad to proclaim the message of the Messiah.
As John neared the end of his ministry, his joy was not diminished. Even though he’d occupied a period of popularity and a growing stage, John always knew that his stage would end. But he didn’t mind. John testified, “The friend of the bridegroom [that’s John], who stands and hears him [that’s Jesus], rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.”
So great was John’s joy, that he says simply: “He must increase and I must decrease.” Do you want to experience a life of joy? Do you want to experience a life of meaning and purpose? It will always start with Jesus—readiness to greet him, to hear his message, to proclaim his message, to meet with him, and to draw close to him.