More than twenty years ago, our little Boston terrier died at Christmas time. I grieved so much. And then I got the flu. It was not looking like a very good Christmas.

I was lying there in my living room, sick, when Donna said that someone had come by to visit. I was NOT excited. And then I saw that it was our good friends, and they had a Boston terrier puppy!

I was almost angry. I could not believe they would come by to show off their new puppy after ours had died. And then they smiled and said, “John, this is for you! Merry Christmas!”

We named her P.J., which stands for Pure Joy. And for fourteen years, that’s what she gave us. She’s buried in our yard now. But the joy of that gift will last all our lives.

I hope that’s what Christmas was like for you this year. I pray that God is entering into your sadness, your sickness—everything the world can bring against you—and surprising you with joy.

That’s exactly what the Lord did on that first Christmas. He didn’t come as a majestic King to show off what He owned. He came with a  merciful gift for every one of us.

And He has called us together into amazing ministry for Him. He has given us the gift of life. And we get to put it into action together.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!

“The angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’” (Luke 2:10-11 ESV).