“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid! For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.’” (Luke 2:10 BSB)

Young boy smiling big while holding a brown puppy that is wearing a red and white checkered bow tie.A few years back my younger daughter, Heather, spent her Christmas break recovering from surgery to her left leg. She was in a lot of pain and more than a little frustrated that she couldn’t get out with her friends during the holidays. However, on Christmas Eve one of Heather’s friends, Liz, brought her a special gift that made that Christmas one of her brightest.

Liz told Heather to close her eyes and hold out her hands. Into Heather’s cupped hands Liz placed a little ball of black fur about the size and texture of a powder puff. It was a tiny Yorkshire Terrier puppy.

Liz’s family bred Yorkies but this particular puppy was born with a malady in his hips so that he couldn’t use his backs legs. However, on that Christmas Eve morning, after weeks of dragging himself around with his front legs, the little tike began using his feeble back legs. Immediately, Liz had the idea of giving the puppy to Heather as a source of inspiration and encouragement during her recovery.

The puppy was incredibly cute. Jet-black fur. Jet black eyes. Tiny. He fit entirely, head to stubbed tail, into one of my hands. He was just breaking into solid food. But when he bent his head down to get a bite of food his underdeveloped hind end would come off the floor. He was able to use his back legs to walk but you could certainly tell it was his first day trying them out. They kind of flung out to the side before landing forward. It was a hoot to watch.

Heather immediately fell in love with him, as did we all. We named him Tiny Tim after the little crippled boy in Charles Dicken’s, “A Christmas Carol,” whose cheery blessing, “God bless us, every one,” brought joy and laughter to his family. That Christmas our Tiny Tim brought joy, laughter, and encouragement, not only to Heather, but also to our whole family. God had blessed us, everyone.

I’m sure each of you has a particular Christmas that stands out in your mind, too. A Christmas that is more treasured in your memory because of the specialness of the gift you received. There’s something about special gifts that bring special joy.

There’s a special joy available to us because of the most special and precious gift ever given: God’s gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. It’s the gift of Christ in our hearts that truly makes Christmas merry. This is because without Christ there would be no Christmas. Is it any wonder why people without Christ in their hearts want the holidays without Christmas? They haven’t received the gift yet. How can they find joy in what they haven’t received? But because we HAVE received the Gift we can rejoice and be glad and be merry!  

In fact, it is our joy, gladness, and merriment that will cause more of the world to want the gift of Christ. This is why we need to express our joy in Christ, not only at Christmas, but year round. There is no need for Christians to get “all in a tizzy” and fight to keep Christ in Christmas. We just need to start enjoying the gift of Christ in our hearts more. Be happy. Be merry. Be joyful.

“Don’t be afraid,” the angel said to the shepherds, “I bring good new of great joy!” Are we experiencing and expressing that great joy on a consistent basis? If not, will the world consider what we have to share to be “good news?”

When we experience great joy, it will be expressed effortlessly and naturally. We will experience the great joy of Christmas year round to the extent that we daily rejoice in and spend time with Jesus, God’s special gift to us. For, the gift that makes Christmas merry is the child of Mary. He is also the Son of God and, through Him, God has blessed us, every one.

© Paul R Downing

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