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Christmas: Where's the joy?

Plenty of snow at Christmastime.
Plenty of snow at Christmastime.
File: Alexander

I heard a message on joy Sunday. It was an excellent message given by Saddleback Church's Rick Warren, titled "Radical Joy," which is Part 3 of the series, Radicalis: Developing Spiritual Roots.


There was only one problem ... I didn't come away joyful ... or at least I thought I didn't. You see, my true joy has been in Jesus for the last 11 years. By His grace, after praying to accept the Lord, my life has radically changed. So, you would think I would know better than to be bummed out after Sunday's service, catching myself thinking about family "issues" that often seem to sprout around Christmas.

Nevermind that Warren produced a "Saddleback Spa" type setting, replacing the pulpit with falling snow flakes in a beautiful forested setting shown in a looping video on a large screen TV behind him. Warren, who was joined by his associate pastor, worship leader and a virtuoso guitarist, and seated on comfy leather chairs, purposefully wanted his audience to relax ... and get joyful.

I knew I was in the right place at the right time Sunday ... so, it wasn't a question of wanting to be elswhere. I just found myself asking, "Where's the joy?"

Later, I went about my business, meeting with my parents for breakfast, and having an okay day ... but, I prayed a lot. Yeah, sure, I intellectually know that my true joy is in the Lord, but I don't always feel joy. I was doin' a bit of the Christmas blues dance Sunday.

It wasn't until Monday morning that my spirit was really uplifted. I read from one of my daily devotionals ... and although everything certainly is not right with the world, I can again feel the joy we all so desperately want to feel. Like Warren said Sunday, "I've got news for you, life isn't fair, but there is one who can bring you joy no matter what. That one is Jesus."

Sometimes, I might add, joy comes in a simple message.

Here's the devotion that I read this morning in Charles F. Stanley's God's Way, Day by Day:

Our Best Friend

No longer do I call you servants, ... but I have called you friends. -- John 15:15

"All who call Jesus Savior and Lord are invited to be His friend.

What kind of friend is Jesus? He is the best friend you will ever have. He does for us what no one else can do, He helps us in ways no one else can help us, and He loves us as no one else can ever love us.

We may have difficulty seeing Jesus as our Friend, but Jesus doesn't have any difficulty seeing us that way."

Can I hear an "Amen"?

Merry Christmas!



  • Ron Sukut 5 years ago

    Good perspective Alex,
    A Joyful Christmas to you to dear brother.
    Love ya!

  • Alex Murashko 5 years ago

    Thank you, Ron!

  • Mark Prokop 5 years ago

    I tell everyone, including my children, "Life isn't fair, but Jesus is fair". When I was volunteering in a first grade class years ago, I told a little girl that phrase (she's now in the fifth grade). When I saw her recently, I told that I will always remember that moment in time.

  • Al Cibiades 5 years ago

    ""Radical Joy,". Is that the one where he called on people to be motivated to act radically as the followers of Hitler, Mao etc did.. albeit theirs was an evil teaching.

    I had thought Warren a decent guy until recently. The more I hear about him the more I think he's another fundamentalist fanatic, convinced of the absolute truth of his convictions despite their baselessness. I think that sermon was an evil one.

    And as to the joy of this season. It really comes from the satisfaction of social needs and human impulses which are natural to us. Maybe some buy into the mythology, but I think they enjoy the family, partying and hopefully, fellowship more.

  • Alex Murashko 5 years ago

    Note: Al C is misquoting and slandering Rick Warren. Also, it's not "his" convictions that motivate Warren. It is the truth found in the Bible!