You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. (Psalm 4:7, ESV)
The psalmist proclaims being in joy without the need of abundant food. Perhaps, the ones who abound with grain and wine are not all that happy. The more we have, the more anxiety we may have. When we have a lot, we worry about what we need to do to keep it. After all, we worked hard for our stuff. It wouldn’t be fair if someone took it away. So we lock our doors. We lock our cars.
Some of us may even have security systems. I remember when we moved into our house here, we received numerous phone calls from companies wanting to sell us security systems. We decided it wasn’t necessary.
We live in a time when people are losing what they have. It isn’t a thief who comes in the night or picks our locks when we are away from home. No, it is a recession – one of the fiercest recessions ever. People are losing their homes, their jobs, their livelihoods, their hope. We live in uncertain and difficult times.
So, how do we get joy when we see others who continue to live well? I think the answer lies in the source of joy for the psalmist. The source of joy for the psalmist is the love of God.
A song proclaims December as “the most wonderful time of the year.” I think Andy Williams sang it. It is wonderful because we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. Jesus came to bring hope into the world. For those who have lost hope, hope comes in the form of a baby, born under meager circumstances. Jesus, who cane from humble beginnings, becomes the King of kings and Lord of lords.
In the midst of this incredibly commercial time, let us remember the psalmist who sees joy without the need for more stuff or even abundant food. Let us remember that the source of our identity, Jesus, the Christ, was born to a lowly estate.
But let us celebrate in ways that are appropriate for each if us. Let us not forget to give thanks for what we have. Let us not forget those who are less fortunate than we are. But most of all, let us celebrate the greatest birthday of all – Jesus our Lord. Let us celebrate with songs and hearts of joy!