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News of Comfort and Joy

This post was written by Leann Woelk, a member of the INCM Blog team.

As I sit in my living room and admire the Christmas decorations, I am reminded of how much I love words on pictures and tabletop accessories. Dotted throughout my Christmas decor you’ll find “PEACE” on my windowsill and “HOPE “on my mantle, but “JOY” shows up four times just in the living room.  I take a moment to recall how the items came to be in my house.  Some words reminded me of some hard and uncertain circumstances that I had walked through over the years. 

An accident; loneliness; insecurity; the premature birth of my son; the death of a loved one.  

But as quickly as those memories come, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness in the circumstances.

Peace that would rest upon me when I thought I couldn’t bear any more stress. 

Hope that I would see my loved one again because Jesus was their Savior. 

Joy that would come in the morning after the grieving and amid the trials and troubles we face. 

2020 has been a challenging year to say the least for everyone.  How are we even supposed to sing “Joy to the World” when our world is in turmoil and this year’s Christmas doesn’t feel the same?

Do our circumstances change the fact that it is still a time to celebrate Christ’s birth and why He came to earth?

As I laid in bed for 8 days straight with the virus in my body, I played a lot of music. The lyrics in the song often sang of peace, hope, and joy.  As I began to feel better, I started playing Christmas carols to bring some joy to my day. 

God rest ye merry, gentlemen let nothing you dismay 

Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day

To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy

Some of these words stood out to me as I had the song on repeat. I took a moment to look deeper using Oxford Languages which defined them like this:

  • Dismay: consternation and distress, typically that caused by something unexpected
  • Tidings:  a piece of news
  • Comfort: ease the grief or distress of; console
  • Joy: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness

The news of COVID-19 has caused distress and was certainly unexpected, but here in the lyrics of this classic Christmas carol, we are reminded to remember why Jesus came for us and therefore we celebrate Christmas.  

God rest ye merry, gentlemen let nothing you dismay 

John 16:22, “So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.”

Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day

To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray

Romans 4:7-8, “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin.”

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy

Isaiah 61:3 “…and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

My friends, this Christmas we can exchange gifts with the One who understands everything our souls are experiencing this year. Jesus understands our “ashes” of pain, loss, and suffering. The mourning and grief we feel can be exchanged for the oil of joy, and He will lift off our cloak of despair and give us a garment of praise more beautiful than anything we have ever worn before.

Jesus has turned our mourning into joy, and He comforts us and exchanges our sorrows for rejoicing because of what he has done for us. (Jeremiah 31:13)

With the great love exchange Jesus provided for us at the cross and in His resurrection, He was looking past the cross towards the throne of God, where he now sits at the right hand of the Father. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith, and you will see the joy that is coming after a pandemic. (Hebrews 12:2)

The question is: What will you exchange today so that He can give you His comfort and joy?

In all of this, we can sing out “Joy to the World,” and I hope your soul, mind, will, and emotions grasp the deep love of the Father who would send His Only Son to provide a love exchange for you and me and bring us the news of comfort and joy when we would need it most.


About Leann

As a wife, mother, and leader in the ministry of children, Leann has been serving churches, camps and conferences with enthusiasm for over 30 years with whimsical creativity and thrifty practicality. Her desire is to care for the hearts of those who are on the front lines of ministry. She partners with Children’s Ministry Specialists and their churches to provide training, support and care for them and their ministry.

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