It’s nearly Christmas, so our family is traveling. The drive is long, so we stopped about halfway to spend the night. I was able to sneak out while the others slept for a little peace and quiet with coffee, and while reading in Zachariah, something really stuck out to me.
In chapter 12 and 13 of Zachariah, he is talking to the people who have come back from captivity and are rebuilding the temple. He’s encouraging them that GOD is still at work and about the blessings that will come. He uses a phrase nearly TEN times in these two chapters: “On that day.”
You see, they were struggling. They were coming under attack in various ways, they were being discouraged during rebuilding, but GOD wanted them to be encouraged – not by what was necessarily going on NOW, but what was COMING – “on that day.”
God has been (attempting) to teach me about joy this season. And while I “know” what joy means, I don’t believe I REALLY know what it means – to experience it daily. But I think the secret is found in these couple of chapters.
Zachariah was talking about the coming Messiah – whom we are celebrating during this Christmas season, but to them, He was just a far off promise. JESUS wasn’t a baby in a manger or the Savior we know that conquered death. He was a far off, down the road, distant hope. But this is exactly where JOY comes into focus.
While happiness is about circumstances “happening” now, JOY is about what we believe is GOING to happen…. “on that day.” In the words of a good friend of mine, “Things aren’t always going to be this way.” Because of our belief in a GOD who is STILL at work, STILL has a plan, and is STILL good, we can know that better days (a whole long better eternity!) is coming.
I don’t pretend to know all that you are going through. Life is hard. Even scripture says that life is like “full of trouble.” I can, however, encourage you with the words of Zachariah. It begins:
“On that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the residents of Jerusalem, to wash away sin and impurity.”
And it gloriously ends with:
“They will call on My name,
and I will answer them.
I will say: They are My people,
and they will say: Yahweh is
I hope this encourages you and brings you JOY this Christmas season!
We’ve talked a lot about this topic on our podcast series, “Tis the Season.” Episodes are listed below: