There are very few times that bring more excitement to most people than Christmas. There are so many great things to see, so many great things to eat, family to visit, presents to give, presents to receive, and of course school is out! For most people, Christmas is a time of great happiness. But not for everyone. There are people who don’t get many presents, don’t have family to visit, and aren’t able to eat the Christmas treats they love. But even for them, Christmas should be a time of great joy. Why? Because at Christmas, we are reminded that God has given EVERYONE the greatest gift of all – the gift of Jesus Christ. Even if there are no presents to open and no feast to eat, Christmas is good news because Christmas reminds us that God loves us, He sent His Son Jesus to die for us, and we can have eternal life if we trust Him!
The Bible talks about a kind of good feeling we can have even when everything is not going very well. The word is “joy.” Joy is a deep feeling of delight in God that is produced by the Holy Spirit. Everyone who knows Jesus can have this joy—but only those who know Jesus. And this joy that Jesus gives is better than any present we can receive.
As you read these stories, think about the JOY of Christmas, the reason Mary had joy, and the reasons we can have joy.
(Links open in a new tab to the text in ESV)
Think about these truths:
Our joy is directly related to our knowledge of God.
Joy abounds when we are confident in God’s power – His ability to accomplish His promises.
Joy abounds when we are confident in God’s mercy – His undeserved constraint toward the punishment of sin.
Joy abounds when we are confident in God’s faithfulness – His dependability in keeping all His promises.
During dinner, have everyone share something they know about God that brings them joy. See how many times you can make it around the table before repeating.
Laughter often accompanies joy. Share a story or a joke to get someone else to laugh. Warning: this discussion is best held before or after dinner when mouths are free of food and drink.
Praise God for joy, happiness, and laughter. Gratitude should be specific so let your words tell God exactly what gave you joy.
To extend discussion starter #1, find Scripture passages that affirm what you know to be true about God. Younger kids will need to partner with an older sibling or adult.
It would be a shame to let all this hard work be forgotten. Create some colorful “joy” ornaments to add to the Christmas tree. If you’ve already decorated, I’m sure you can find a little extra room. Include the Scripture passages you found together.
Joy is multiplied when it is shared with others. Host a person or family in your home for dinner or Christmas cookies that doesn’t have family living nearby to celebrate the joy of Christmas with them.