“I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” (Luke 2:10b NIV)
Did you know God likes to party? He’s constantly throwing parties. In fact, the Bible says that God’s angels throw a party every time a person trusts Jesus as the Lord and Savior of his or her life. They party for joy whenever someone turns away from self-centeredness and turns toward Jesus.
Christmas is a party — a birthday party for Jesus. It’s why we say “Merry Christmas.” Yet, we often leave the guest of honor out of our Christmas parties! Thinking about this irony, I started asking people, “What are you celebrating this Christmas?” This is what a few of them told me:
- “What am I celebrating? Not a lot.”
- “The blessings that we’ve had in our family this year.”
- “Just the Christmas spirit.”
- “Being home and not being on the road for the holidays.”
- “This Christmas? I’m celebrating the birth of Christ.”
- “Nothing. I just want to get through it.”
This last comment is true for a lot of people. Christmas may be a season of celebration, but they feel they have nothing to celebrate. Perhaps that’s true of you, too. You’re thinking, “I just want to get through Christmas. I just want to survive it. I’ve got nothing to celebrate. It’s been a rough year, and I just want it to be over.”
We stress over our circumstances or get so busy simply getting ready for the celebration that we lose sight of the joy. The good news of Christmas is reduced to the fact that your in-laws aren’t coming this year or that you managed to keep within your Christmas budget.
But God, through his angel, tells us that wrapped in Christmas is good news of such great joy that, if we believe it, we won’t be able to contain the celebration within us.
God’s good news is so much more than our circumstances! The joy of Christmas is based on the truth that God loves us, God is with us, and God is for us. Can you hear the celebration in that?
What does a celebration of Jesus’ birth look like?
Watch a short video sample from Pastor Rick on the importance of love. Saddleback Resources offers 40 Days of Love, a six-week, video-based study for small groups or individuals that searches the Scripture for what love is, the characteristics of love, and how our relationships can be transformed by love.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2011 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.