22 Dec The Gift of Joy
Sharing Jesus This Christmas
In the movie Elf, one of Buddy’s favorite things to do is to sing Christmas Carols. Buddy spreads the gift of joy to everyone he meets, and singing loudly is one way he goes about it. Caroling was a part of my family’s Christmas traditions each year. Every Christmas Eve my family attended the service at our church, drove around and looked at Christmas lights, and then we would visit one or two friends and sing a few carols as a family. This was a special time of bringing joy through visitation, taking notice of those who were important to us through a personal visit and a song. It always served as a reminder of the power of friends, family, and the joy that comes through meaningful relationships.
Have you ever been visited by Christmas carolers unexpectedly? Christmas caroling can sometimes come as an interruption, but it’s the pleasant kind that brightens your day through the joy of friendship, reminding you that someone cares enough to notice you. There is a joy that comes in being noticed, in being reminded that you are significant and that another person or family cares enough to spend time with you in conversation. In a sense, that is what Christmas is all about. God took notice of man and his suffering and sent His Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to dwell among us. For the first time in history, God began a long-term conversation with man in the physical form of Jesus. He became Immanuel—God with us.
The significance of this conversation cannot be overstated. God created the heavens and the earth, made everything that we see, lived in heaven, but chose to come to earth and pitch his tent alongside ours. He came to us. He experienced the story of man. He learned life as man saw it. He came to earth and got to know us. He learned our stories. And in doing so, he brought joy to those around him, and to those who would believe in him for the rest of time. He brought joy to us by noticing us, and he brought joy to those around Him by spending time with them in meaningful relationship. God gave us the gift of joy, and it came through a conversation in the form of Jesus. If we are going to be fully formed disciples of Christ, we must do the same thing.
Have you considered that you should be giving the gift of joy to those around you? I’m not just speaking about your family and friends, but of those co-workers, neighbors, and connections that remain apart from God’s salvation. Being a joy-giver is not about having a big personality, or even being a “people person.” Giving the gift of joy is as simple as noticing someone around you by caring enough to have a meaningful conversation with them. There are many people around us who are simply looking for someone willing to hear their story, to notice them, and to have a conversation with them. It’s a universal truth of humanity that we need to be heard. To be heard is to be acknowledged; to be acknowledged is to be valued; to be valued is to be loved; to be loved is to be human.
We know that ultimate joy and fulfillment comes through a life fully submitted to God. We also know that no one can come to God unless they’ve heard about Him, and no one can hear about Him unless someone starts a conversation. If there’s a person or group you want to share the Gospel with, go and dwell among them by starting a conversation. Spend your time on them—sing a Christmas carol, serve them, have a meaningful conversation and learn their story! Give the gift of joy by noticing them, earn the right to be heard by listening to them, and share the ultimate gift of Christmas—Jesus—through the context of your relationship. Buddy the Elf spread the gift of joy through song and enthusiasm. How will you spread the gift of joy this Christmas?
For more on having meaningful conversations with the lost, check out Initiate: Powerful Conversations That Lead to Jesus. Available on Amazon.com and Kindle.