Joy should not just be a warm feeling felt throughout the holiday season, but a continual action of the hope inside us.
Christmas is now over. The presents have all been unwrapped, the cookies are almost all gone, and perhaps even the decorations have been put away into the attic for another year. It seems that some of the magic disappears the day after Christmas and all is back to normal. But for those of us who are believers, there is nothing normal about our lives, for we have a joy that can’t be extinguished, even after the holiday festivities are over. And our joy doesn’t come from worldly things but rather, from simple things – such as growing our relationships or spending time with our loved ones around the dinner table.
After Jesus was resurrected from the dead and ascended into heaven, he gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to his apostles and followers – a promise of comfort and a peace that they would never be alone. The gift of the Holy Spirit also gave the new believers a refreshing hope and joy. They lived out this simple joy by sharing their belongings with others. They gave to those in need, met together regularly for fellowship, broke bread together and shared meals. They praised God and enjoyed the presence of each other, all the while having glad and sincere hearts.
How often do we find our joy in worldly possessions or even in human relationships? It’s not necessarily wrong to find happiness in these things but in the end, these kind of things aren’t going to satisfy your soul and will end up letting you down, no matter how happy they may make you in the moment. Our true source of hope and joy comes from Jesus, alone. The new believers back in this day (Acts 2:42-47) understood this simple truth and shared the hope of Jesus with each other. They weren’t greedy with their possessions – they generously shared them and gave them away, out of the joy they had in their hearts. They didn’t need the latest iPhone or a shiny new Tesla to find their joy. They found their joy first by believing in Jesus and living out their lives as he did. They made Jesus their example by loving those around them and sharing all they had, and their relationships with one another grew because of it.
How might our world or even our neighborhood look if we put into practice what the apostles and early believers acted out? While presents and decorations are nice at Christmas, let’s carry out a more substantial joy and hope into the upcoming year by loving those around us, sharing meals and belongings with each other, and making time for one another. Joy should not just be a warm feeling felt throughout the holiday season, but a continual action of the hope inside us. When others see the joy in us and the reason for it, maybe it will cause them to question and come to believe.