A Prayer for True Joy This Christmas
By Ashley Moore
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” – Psalm 16:11, ESV
Christmas is a special time that believers and nonbelievers alike enjoy! We take our children to look at lights and decorations. We bake traditional family recipes and gather around tables with people we love. We buy thoughtful gifts to give to our friends and family. We put forth a lot of effort to experience joy during this season; we give December an extra line in the budget, take advantage of our PTO, and fill our calendars with events.
I thoroughly enjoy these special celebrations and look forward to them each year. And it is good for us to take pleasure in these common graces as they are a gift from our Heavenly Father (James 1:17). But did you know joy isn’t only reserved only for the holiday season? The source of lasting and satisfying joy is always available. And here’s the good news, it is easily found! This joy doesn’t require hoop jumping, budget-blowing, or running on fumes.
David wrote in Psalm 16 that God’s presence is where he found the fullness of joy. For the nonbeliever, the fleeting pleasures of this world are a grace that will pass away, ultimately leaving them dissatisfied and searching for more. Only when they come to know the God who made every good thing will they be satisfied and their joy becomes full.
As for believers, we enjoy these good gifts from God, knowing that they are a shadow of the glory that is to come. The path that God made known to the Psalmist and to us is the reason we truly celebrate this Christmas season. God sent His Son Jesus, who knew no sin, to become sin for us so that we could be made right with God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus, also known as the Word of God, became flesh and made His dwelling among us (John 1:14). And when Jesus’ time came He died the death we deserved, and the veil that separated sinners from a Holy God was torn (Matthew 27:51).
Do you know what this means for us? The presence of God used to only be accessible via a high priest who, according to the Old Testament law, had to enter the Holy of Holies once a year to make a sacrifice for sins on behalf of the people. If you weren’t a priest, you couldn’t even go near it (Hebrews 9:7). Before Jesus, we were excluded from the presence of God and, therefore, unable to experience joy because of our sins. But not anymore!
Jesus took the place of the High Priest, making an offering on our behalf, once and for all (Hebrews 10:14). And while we wait for His return, He has given us a helper in the Holy Spirit. This is good, good news. And great joy! Dear believer, this Christmas season, we celebrate the birth of the Savior. We celebrate Immanuel, God with us. His Spirit is inside of you. His presence dwells with His people. And in His presence is fullness of joy.
So as you seek out ways to celebrate and enjoy this season. Remember that true joy, lasting joy, comes from the presence of God. Take a moment to acknowledge He is with us, and we will be with Him forever because of this miraculous birth. This is our source of true joy this Christmas.
Thank you that in your presence, we experience joy to the max! Thank you for making that available to us through the birth of your Son, Jesus! His birth is the reason we seek out experiences that bring us joy during this season, even if it’s only temporary joy! I pray we use this Christmas season to prompt us to acknowledge and engage with our true source of joy–your presence. Thank you for making lasting joy available to us. Thank you for every good gift! Lord let us spend time abiding in your presence, and, Lord, let us be evidence to unbelievers that you are their only hope for true, lasting joy! Let it be undeniable that we have been with you, and thank you for being with us! In Jesus’ name, amen.
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Ashley Moore is a writer and host of be the two™podcast. She is known for her relatability and for passionately writing and speaking about mental, emotional, and relational health from a biblical worldview. She has written for Kingdom Edge Magazine, Guideposts, Crosswalk, The Secret Place, enLIVEn, The Bubbling Brook and more. If Ashley isn’t writing, you can find her with her husband, three children, and two floppy-eared Goldens on their south Georgia farmland. The best way to connect with Ashley is to grab a free devotional or Bible study and join her newsletter at free.ashleynicolemoore.com.
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