Oh, Tidings of Comfort and Joy
While the rest of the world around us becomes excited and enamored with our culture’s celebration of Christmas, some of us struggle through the holiday season. The cloud of depression and battles with fear and loneliness constantly reminds us that the “Christmas Cheer,” the “Holly Jolly,” and the “May Your Days Be Merry and Bright” make our hearts sink lower every time we hear those familiar holiday songs. If depression, fear, and loneliness don’t give way to the holidays, then our fractured relationships, dysfunction, compromised finances, loss of loved ones, isolation, and any number of other circumstances become even harder.
One of the most difficult things about the Christmas holiday is watching the world move on while your world has been altered. How can you be excited about a holiday when your world falls well below what you see around you? You may be happy on the outside but you’re hurting on the inside; and you can't make it go away.
It is not only hurting people struggling during the Christmas holiday, but some of us who are celebrating in the festivities can be struggling just as much as those sitting them out.
I woke up early humming a Christmas carol when I felt the words “tidings of comfort and joy” roll out of my mouth. I stopped humming and observed this phrase. Sitting up in bed, I realized that I have never fully realized the significance of this string of words before. I Googled “tidings” because I have been singing these words for years without paying attention to what they mean.
Tidings means news, information, report. I remembered that the angel makes this proclamation to the shepherds in the Christmas story, “...behold, I bring you good tidings [news] of great joy,” (Luke 2:10).
The word for this phrase “good tidings” in the Greek is “euaggelizō (you-ah-gal-eed-zo); this word literally translates to “gospel.” Ah, Jesus’ birth is the Christmas gospel story, which is good news for this world.
I think around this time of the year, it is easy to appreciate what “tidings of joy” looks and sounds like. But, what are “tidings of comfort?” The need for “comfort” usually insinuates that pain, discomfort, or grief are present. Our world has seen immense suffering and death during the COVID-19 pandemic, spikes of violent crimes, inflation, families torn apart, mental illness, and on and on. In these tough times we face, we can still find comfort in the same proclamation the angels gave to the shepherds.
What are These Tidings of Comfort & Joy for Us?
Jesus accomplished His father's mission for Planet Earth. His name is Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” He was born. He lived. He died. He rose from death. He now sits at His father's side in heaven as King of kings and Lord of lords. He has earned the right to be the Savior of this world. He offers salvation to anyone who believes and receives Him as Lord and Savior of their life. John 3:16 states it this way, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only son (Jesus) that whoever believes in Him (that is Jesus) shall not perish but have everlasting life."
JESUS IS OUR COMFORT & JOY!
Instead of being hard on yourself this Christmas holiday, would you pause and choose BOTH comfort AND joy from the God who was the baby in the manger, who sent the angels to proclaim to the shepherds, “Oh, tidings of joy,” and who gives us comfort just like we sing in the Christmas carol. Would you hear Him proclaim these great tidings over your life circumstances? No matter what you face in life, God is with you. He is for you, not against you. This familiar Christmas carol is calling us into action to pause and choose God’s comfort and joy for our lives through His precious son Jesus who is the good news of the Christmas story.