Focal Passage: James 1:2-8
Some time in late January, I begin the annual process of preparing the Nixon family income tax return to be taken to the preparer we use. I gather the paperwork, organize it all, and take it over to the tax service. And so it was that late in the first month of 2003, I began the gathering of my 2002 tax return.
The previous month we experienced an addition to our family with the birth of my son Jack on Dec. 1, 2002. If you already know what these two things, tax preparation and childbirth, have in common, then you are a step ahead of where I was that January. I had not made the connection, but quickly had it made for me.
Did you know that, for tax purposes, the best time of year to have a child is December?
You see, by law, you get to count that child a dependent for the year, the whole year, even though almost none of that year’s income will have actually gone to support the child. Sometime around April of 2003 I got the single largest tax return of my life — all because of the birth of an additional dependent I had not counted when paying my taxes for that year. Joy indeed!
There is another, more popular story about taxes, and a child being born, and joy that calls for our attention this advent season.
The joy that particular story brings isn’t a one-time thing by way of some kind of healthy rebate. It is a deep, inner joy that comes from knowing Christ. It is a lasting, permanent joy that comes from experiencing relationship with Him daily.
James writes about this joy, even about its ability to endure through trials.
It is joy for the whole world, because the Savior has come.