Christmas Cheer: Authentic Joy or Mere Happiness

James 4:13-16

Recommended Reading

John 6:35-40      John 7:16-18      Matthew 12:50      Matthew 7:21-23      Psalm 40:6-8       Psalm 143:10

“I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”

Christmas for a kid is a great time. Presents, cookies, and no school would make anyone happy. Do you remember as a kid that the adults never seemed to be as happy about Christmas as us kids were? They seemed stressed, especially about Christmas being commercialized. Why? They wanted us kids to enjoy Christmas….so why did they seem so stressed?

Maybe it’s because our childish happiness focused on just ourselves. That makes a person a taker rather than a giver. Self-centeredness is about satisfying our needs and wants. Self-centered people tend to be in good physical shape, can afford things they need and want, and have lower stress levels. So essentially, they’re happy because they get what they want.

The people in James 4:13 are happy in this self-centered way. Now, personal happiness has great benefits. But only when we bring God’s purpose into our lives does our happiness spread to others. That’s the wisdom found in verse 15 – following God’s will. When we don’t, it produces self-centeredness. Self-centered happiness neglects gratitude, grace, and mercy. These are the essential ingredients for authentic joy in any season, not just at Christmas. That true joy of the Lord gives us strength, not stress.

Christmas is a great time, men, to renew our God-centered happiness. It’s a time to take Jesus Christ, our hope and joy, and spill that into others’ lives. We finally get to do projects for others. We get our hands dirty for Jesus. But more than that, we give Jesus’ love to others. We show others, not just the meaning of Christmas, but who makes our lives meaningful for the rest of the year. 

Take Away

  • Keep one specific purpose for your Christmas project. Keep it before the men to give them focus and reduce stress.
  • It’s Christmas. Model ways that your men can share salvation and celebrate it when they do.

Let Les McMahan, Jim Boscaljon, or me know what you need from us. We can pray with you, help you find options for your men’s ministry, or connect you to other men’s groups in the district for support. 

By Mike Brue, Men’s Secretary and Resource Coordinator,

Les McMahan, Co-Director of Alliance Men Ministries,

Jim Boscaljon, Co-Director of Alliance Men Ministries,