Where God is present there is joy. That’s why the shepherds were told, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people.” Joy is an integral part of who God is and He is trying to share Himself with the human family.

As a person comes to know God more intimately, he or she begins to take on more and more of God’s characteristics. Along with joyful celebration come the qualities of decency, uprightness, goodness, and compassion.

As a community of people begins to be transformed by faith certain things inevitably take place within that community. People who are normally marginalized by secular society participate in God’s community on an equal footing. The so-called powerless sense with boldness the empowerment granted to them by the compassionate community of God’s people. The “privileged” act in ways that promote the well-being of others. The innate worth of every human being is affirmed by all within the community.

This state of existence is described by the Hebrew word hesed. It is variously translated kindness, loving kindness, or loyalty. It speaks of a relationship of care, compassion, and unfailing provision that springs out of a character of impeccable integrity. God is saturated with hesed; He is trying to shape us into that kind of people as well.

At this Holiday Season many of our neighbors are considering Jesus Christ and the meaning of His life. Of course we know that He offers God’s joy (and hesed) to the world every day. We also try to celebrate that joy every day by the way in which we live, love, and interact with others. But at this time of the year, it seems to me, that even though we know His birthday is not December 25, we still have an exceptional opportunity to share His nature with this dying world.

Merry Christmas. May He grant you the opportunity to play your part in bringing Joy to the World in some way this Holiday Season.