It’s been a sobering day. A Hostage situation unfolds across the sea in Australia, close to home. Many around mourn the loss of a family member from illness or age. Our normal daily lives seem more tenuous, fragile even. Yet the mailbox continues to deliver its flood of catalogues with Christmas bargains, carols still play and Christmas decorations abound. In the juxtaposition of these hard times and these joyous times, how do we – how can we possibly hold onto the joy of the season?

The answer is true joy is neither found nor sustained in our Christmas traditions or trappings. Grief and fear can see to that. Stress and hardship as well. But in Christmas, joy is still to be found. This joy is not a happiness that depends on our circumstances or even our emotions. This joy is a constant. It is from within because of Him who lives within us. In the midst of hardship and trials we can have joy. The same joy as when all is well. It’s the joy that from his prison cell Paul speaks about when he urges us to “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)

Joy is made available to us through Jesus Christ. The joy of our salvation. The joy of the hope, the peace that He brings. And in this joy is our strength. The source of this joy is found in God and its focus is God. And that is what gives us our strength.

“The joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Glad tidings of great joy is for us in Jesus. And that is the joy of the season, of our lives.