Do you remember the joy and excitement the Christmas season brought when you were a child?  The blinking lights, the tinsel, hot chocolate, the sweet smell of a fresh cut pine tree, and the packages, of course.  It was a time of wonder and mystery.  It seemed that for those few weeks heaven had come to earth.

Do you also remember the time that Christmas ceased to be special; a time when you began to believe that Christmas meant nothing more than exploitation and commercialism; that there is no “peace on earth” and the only “goodwill” is a store on the edge of town?

Maybe you are one of the fortunate few who never lost the joy of Christmastime. For many, however, this time of year holds only bitter memories, feelings of loneliness and depression.  I confess to being one of those people for a number of years.  

I became disenchanted because what was supposed to be the most special time of the year seemed to bring out the worst in my family. The arguments and fights and rehashing of old wounds was more than I could bear. I gave up on Christmas before I became a teenager.  And it hurt.

Yet, at the age of 22 the joy returned. I made a discovery which changed things for me. It had nothing to do with helping my family get along or ending the commercialism. I discovered the cause of Christmas. It took The Child to bring back the child-like joy of the Christmas season.  

To realize that the joy of Christmas is not found in the presents, the tree, the carols, the lights or the egg nog gave me the freedom to once again enjoy all those things.   To experience peace on earth in the midst of this world’s turmoil is quite thrilling.  To know the answer to the song “What Child is This?” is the greatest knowledge I have ever attained.

If you are losing (or have lost) the joy of Christmas — for whatever reason — take heart. The joy can return. Take time to remember the One Who gave the angels reason to sing and the Wise Men cause to bring gifts. It is a season, after all, born in men’s hearts, not their shopping carts!

May all the joy of a Christ-filled Christmas be yours!