It is true that the joy of Christmas is for everybody, but this doesn’t mean that everybody has found it. This is, after all, the joy of Christmas, which means that it is the joy of Christ. And it is, therefore, to be found in Christ and not just anyplace. If joy is unique, because it is based on or grounded in the character of God, then it must be found in God, which is to say it must be found in Jesus.

It is interesting, isn’t it, that the Christmas story contains two extremes. On the one hand, there were the shepherds, the lowest of the low, to whom the angels appeared with the message and who responded joyfully. At the other extreme were the wise men, the most mighty of the mighty, who also responded when God revealed the birth of Christ to them by the appearance of the star. The appearance of the angels to the shepherds and the presence of the shepherds in the stable indicate that there is no one too lowly, too simple, too uneducated, or too disadvantaged to fail to rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ.

Mary’s joy was certainly great. Later in his ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ would speak of childbirth, and he would say that a woman, though she experiences great pain in childbirth, nevertheless forgets it and rejoices once the child is born. If that is true of nearly any child, as no doubt it is, it was certainly true in the case of the birth of Jesus Christ because this was no mere baby. If he had been, Mary would have been joyful. But this was no mere baby; this was the Savior. This is the one who had been announced to her by the angel, the one miraculously born. And so Mary’s joy certainly exceeded the joy of the others.

There is no emotion so characteristic of Christmas as joy. The whole atmosphere of Christmas is joyful, and it has been joyful since that very first night when the angels announced their message of joy to the shepherds in Bethlehem. And that’s why we sing about joy so much at Christmas.

I like something the great English bishop J.C. Ryle wrote years ago about the God of the impossible. He said,
There is no sin too black and bad to be pardoned. The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. There is no heart too hard and wicked to be changed. The heart of stone can be made a heart of flesh. There is no work too hard for a believer to do. We may do all things through Christ, who strengthens us.