Cheer up, for this day is holy unto the Lord; it is a feast day, the joyous Feast of Trumpets. Mourn not, nor weep. Do not imagine that God likes you to be miserable; He wants you to be happy. You have owned your sin, you have repented of your sin; now let your hearts be filled with the joy that come from a sense of sin forgiven.
Go home now, and keep the feast. Eat and drink of the best you have, eat the fat and drink the sweet, the new sweet wine made from this year’s grapes. Go home and enjoy yourselves to the full; but do not forget those who are worse off than yourselves, remember those poor people who have suffered so much from the late famine, who have paid their last penny to the tax-collector, who have lost their all in these hard times. Let them enjoy themselves too to-day. Eat the fat and drink the sweet, but do not forget to send portions to them for whom nothing is prepared. Remember the empty cupboards, and the bare tables, and the houses where the fat and the sweet are nowhere to be seen.
What a word for us at the time of our joyous Christmas feast! God loves us to be happy. He likes us to rejoice; He does not want us to go about with long faces and melancholy looks. A long-faced Christian is a Christian who brings disgrace on his Master.
Then as we meet, year by year, round the happy Christmas table, and sit down to our Christmas dinner, let us remember that God loves us to be happy; but let us also remember that in the midst of all our joy He would have us unselfish. He would have us send portions to them for whom nothing is prepared. Is there no one whom we can cheer? Is there no desolate home into which we can bring a ray of light? Is there no sorrowful heart to which we can bring comfort? And what about the portions? Is there no poor relative, or neighbour, or friend, with whom we can share the good things that have fallen to our lot?
Our own Christmas dinner will taste all the better if we have helped some one else to happiness or comfort, our own festal rejoicing will be tenfold more full of merriment and real joy, if we have helped to spread the festal joy into dark and gloomy places.
’Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’
Yes, there we have the secret of strength, of the highest kind of strength, of strength of soul. The joy of the Lord, that joy which comes from knowing our sin is pardoned.
Can I say—
’O happy day, O happy
When Jesus washed my sins away?’
Then I have spiritual strength, for the joy of the Lord is my strength. He has forgiven me, He has washed me from my sins in His own blood; how can I grieve Him? How can I pain Him by yielding to temptation? How can I ever risk losing the joy of my heart by going contrary to His will? I am joyful because I am forgiven, and I am strong because I am joyful.