I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay!

And I’m so happy, so very happy
I’ve got the joy of Jesus in my heart
Yes, I’m so happy, so very happy
I’ve got the joy of Jesus in my heart.

Many remember this childhood song about Joy. Maybe it was belted out at summer camp or in Vacation Bible School. Maybe a sweet, grandmother sang it as she whipped up a favorite snack. Wherever it may have been, the catchy tune and lyrics tend to linger in our hearts. Living them is not always as easy, even at Christmas.

Christmas is a magical time of year. Children dream of the presents they’ll find under the tree. Church choirs sing, stories of Santa are told, and cookies are decorated to share. As we grow older, some of the magic fades away, but we still look for joy in the season.

As we continue Advent this week, we light the candle of Joy. Christmas is about the Joy we have in Jesus. It doesn’t mean we won’t encounter hard things this time of year. Life doesn’t stop for the holiday season. It means we can have true Joy in spite of the heartaches we face by finding our Joy in the Savior.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.—Matthew 5:4 NKJV

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.—James 1:2-3 NIV

Journal: What is something you are going through this Christmas that is hard or painful?

After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was.

When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!—Matthew 2:9-10 NLT

When God sent His Son into this world by way of a dusty stable, He gave us a reason for Joy. The wise men rejoiced when they saw the star leading them to their King.

It’s not about what we do for a living or what kind of car we drive. It’s not even about whether we reach our lofty goals. There’s nothing in this fallen world that can give us true Joy. If we place our joy in tangible things, we will always be disappointed.

Jobs can be lost, and cars can be totaled. Our goals can be derailed. But nothing can steal our Joy when it’s anchored in Jesus.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.—Romans 15:13 NIV

Journal: In what have you been trying to find Joy this Christmas? (instead of in Jesus)

The holiday season can be busy, running from one Christmas event to the next. One of the first things we tend to neglect is our time with God, then we wonder why we’re exhausted and our fuse is short. Spending time with God produces Joy. As we spend time in His presence, He gives us more Joy. We can’t afford to skip our quiet moments with Him.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,—Galatians 5:22 NIV

As we near the end of Advent and prepare for Christmas Day, remember it’s all about Jesus, not the perfect Christmas, and radiate true Joy found in Him.

Activation: Write a list of things that are stressing you out (stealing your Joy) right now. Next to each one, write one thing you can do to alleviate that stress.

Prayer Prompt: Write a prayer asking God to help you keep your focus on the Reason for Christmas and find true Joy in Him.
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