The Joy of Christmas

Church Family: 
God is joy. Joy is not only essential to the being of God but also Joy is the ultimate purpose of God in creating you and this world. Right now God is leading everything in His purposeful plan for creation and His Church to experience everlasting joy (Is. 35:10; 55:12-13). What is joy? Joy is a delightful feeling produced by the Holy Spirit that lives in your soul, opening your eyes to look to Him driving out darkness within you, filling you with His glory, graciousness, holiness, faithfulness, and loving emotions. Joy comes from God through the giving of His Son Jesus Christ. Joy comes from God’s hospitality to you, welcoming you to Himself. Joy is the story of Christmas, Christ coming to you so that you not only experience eternal joy but also daily joy, joy in the mundane. Christ has come for your joy.

Christmas joy that permeates the story of the coming of Christ in Luke 1-2, is to overwhelm us with the understanding that God is joy. God decided to reveal Himself to us through Jesus Christ so that we would grasp that God is joy. God does not lead us to joy, He is the joy. In the Christmas story Zechariah first missed the joy of Christ but later filled with the Holy Spirit reveled in joy (Lk. 1:16, 67-69). Elizabeth went away for five months just to spend time for focused joy in Christ (Lk. 1:24-25) and then enjoyed joy together with Mary (Lk. 1:41-45). Baby John the Baptist, still in Elizabeth’s womb, leapt for joy in Christ (Lk. 1:44). Mary wrote a song about her joy in Christ (Lk. 1:46-55). The Angels rejoiced with great joy in Christ (Lk. 2:8-14). The Shepherds glorified God in the joy of Christ (Lk. 2:20). God is joy and Christmas is the celebration that God brought His joy down to us in Jesus Christ so that we would know eternal joy.

Yes, God actually expects us to express a spiritual reveling of joy from our soul that effects our thoughts and emotions and actions. The Holy Spirit will not approve of a life of self-pity or gloominess. Back in the 1600s, one pastor said, “Christ takes no more delight to dwell in a sad heart than we do to live in a dark house.” Christianity is a relationship with a God who is joy. If you live each day with the burden of the shame from yesterday and the anxieties of tomorrow, you will never experience the joys of today. Be quick to run to the cross to seek the joy that only Christ can give. Real joy doesn’t always mean there is a smile on your face in sadness and tribulation. It sometimes means you are on your knees with tears of repentance. Joy is renewed and strengthened through repentance and forgiveness and by daily looking to Christ and living for His glory, not by looking to self and living for your own glory.

The joy of the Lord is your strength (Neh. 8:10)! Use God's powerful joy to wage war in your soul against your flesh so that you more fully experience the deep joy of Christmas that our God of joy has intended for you to enjoy through His Son Jesus Christ.

See you Sunday, with great joy: Steve

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