C.S. Lewis’s definition of “joy” is incredibly specific. For Lewis, “joy” is that feeling of fantastic wonderment, akin to the Romantic notion of the sublime. Lewis chased it for most of his adolescent life, only able to articulate it later as a Christian. Lewis’s “joy” is a feeling which, because of its very nature, cannot be examined in and of itself: “The surest way of spoiling a pleasure [is] to start examining your satisfaction.” Why? because “joy” is not the specific object to be “enjoyed;” instead, “joy” is simply a sign that points to something greater than itself. The goal is never the roadsign, rather the goal is the destination at hand.
In the same way, Christmas is only Christmas because of Christ’s destination at hand. Jesus remarks, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Christmas is Christmas, and just as joy is a pointer, so too Christmas really just points to Easter. Christmas is Christmas because it symbolizes the beginning of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, without whom we would simply remain as “the lost.”