And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people (Luke 2:10).
A rich inheritance of joy has been transferred into my spiritual account. I have seen the paperwork. It has been verified by the highest authority. Yet, fairly often, when I go to draw from that account, I find little there. Why not? Have I been robbed?
Maybe I need to track down the joy robber.
It may help to look closely at the circumstances surrounding a loss. I recall a time when some people complimented me on a job well done. Instead of walking away happy, I went off discouraged because someone mentioned that in one area, I might have done a little better.
Joy wiped out.
Another time, the smile in my heart faded when I learned the new gadget, I was so happy to have, was just replaced by a newer model.
The times when I expected a new assignment, a new house, or cancer in remission would make me forever happy? They did not. What memories come in the middle of the night? The many happy days? No, the regrets!
I plod along in life, hoping for the best but often expecting the worst. If I remember the song, Home on the Range, I might doubt the words, “Where never is heard a discouraging word.”
What happened to the joy? What robbed me of it?
There are suspects. Envy seems to do it. Rather than being happy for someone else’s happiness, envy is irritated. Materialism could be a culprit. It tends to look for joy in all the wrong places. Fear must not be forgotten. Instead of enjoying the pile of blessings in life, it frets that someday I might lose some of them. Thus, worry must be added to the list of suspects. Can’t forget rank foolishness, either!
I know enough not to run up a credit card bill if I won’t have the funds to pay it off. Yet, I am tempted to try to buy joy on credit. Satan is always happy to lend me some. He says my record of sinning qualifies me for the loan. But the interest rate is very high, and at the end, the payment due will be horrendous. I dare not be that foolish. The question remains, which suspect robbed me of my joy? I don’t have a clue.
But my heavenly Bookkeeper does. He pulls up the tape in my memory to show the culprit in action. It reveals the person behind the envy and materialism and worry and fear and foolishness. I see it now.
I am the robber of my joy.
There is no one else; there is nothing else to blame. In fact, it is a fake robbery. The stockpile of joy is still there, waiting for me to use.
The joy has been bought and paid for with holy blood. It is still mine.
The angel was right. The tidings of great joy are for all people. That joy was given to me. And to you. Let’s not rob ourselves of it.
We pray: Lord Jesus, at Christmas we sing, “Oh, where can joy be found? Where but on heavenly ground?” We know that is true. We believe the angel’s words about the good tidings of great joy. Please restore unto us the joy of our salvation. Give us Christmas joy each day of our life. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer
WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military