“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
Here the apostle Paul, who endured many hardships for the sake of Christ, tells us to rejoice in the Lord always. And with enthusiasm he exclaims, “I will say it again: Rejoice!”
In the coming week we may yet hear Christmas carols that encourage us to rejoice, and at Christmas celebrations we will hear about “good tidings of great joy” (see Luke 2:10).
For some people, because of COVID-19 and its effects this Christmas season has not been filled with the same joy as times past. Others dread the Christmas holidays because of circumstances in their lives. Others have told me that for them the month of December is the most difficult month of the year because of many sad things that happened to their family in the past. Someone else said that they would give anything if someone would cancel Christmas because of being all by themself. For some there seems to be no joy at all.
Of course, the joy that Paul talks about goes much deeper than trying to look on the bright side of things. And we are not being told to rejoice in tragic things that may happen to us. We are urged to rejoice in the Lord, because Jesus came to save us from sin and death. In him we are forgiven. Because of Christ, we can rejoice even with tears in our eyes. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you rejoice in the Lord, regardless of your circumstances.
Lord in heaven, help us to find your joy even through our tears, and help us to remember that you have come to turn our mourning into joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.