It’s only a suggestion, but I propose that “we,” – we who know Him, love Him, walk with Him, and proclaim Him – all get radical. Maybe even a little bit revolutionary over these last few weeks beforeDecember 25. I propose thatwe begin blessing people with the bidding to have a “joyous Christmas”… rather than a “merry Christmas.”
You may be thinking…why in the world would any of us do that?
The answer is…because we know and are transformed by the “Reason for the season.” The angel proclaimed to the shepherds, “‘… behold I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people…” (Luke 2:10, NAS) The angel wasn’t announcing news of great merriment. He announced news ofgreat joy.
Apparently the world has much more to say about “merriment” than being “joyous,” which should not be surprising.
Scripture, however, is not silent about the concept of “being merry.” In the Old Testament, the phrase “be merry” or “was merry” (NAS version) is connected to “merry with wine” all eight times it is mentioned. (Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, 2 Samuel, Esther, Ecclesiastes) Jesus uses the description “merry” while teaching a parable to a huge crowd: “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.'” But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21)
Joy is a deep, abiding, spiritual component – not an external add-on that comes in many forms, many pursuits. Joy is part of our reward when we are “rich toward God,” whatever our earthly financial status.
Maybe you have not yet been moved to shout “Joyous Christmas” from the mountaintops and to everyone you meet…but at least let us embrace the essence of that phrase within ourselves, holding it close and knowing that God has designed us for much more than merriment.