Are you experiencing any joy this Christmas season? Let’s face it, sometimes, the pressures we face this time of year can rob us of the joy that should come with the “most wonderful time of the year.” There are plenty of pressures… finding that perfect gift, keeping spending under control, taking exams, wrapping up another year at work, making all the Christmas gatherings… it is enough to turn your merriment to misery!
So where can I find some joy?! The joy of Christmas is found in knowing and believing what that little baby born in a manager 2000 years ago clearly reveals to us… In Jesus Christ, we now have certain hope of salvation. In Jesus Christ, God has kept His promise to send a Savior. And now, in Jesus, we can know and experience lasting joy!
The angel said to the shepherds… 10 ….I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:10-11. Good news causes great joy! If you get a Christmas bonus this week, you will be filled with joy. Why? Because that is good news! Good news always causes great joy!
For those who believe, we have reason to celebrate! We have reason to be happy! We have reason to be filled with gladness and joy! We have the good news! God has sent us the Savior we desperately need! When you pause to consider that good news, when you make that good news your focus, when you let that good news be your “reason for the season”, you will experience real, Christmas joy!
Before that big birth announcement was made, Mary found out she was going to have a baby. It was a pretty dramatic “gender reveal.” Initially, Mary wasn’t feeling very “merry” about it; in fact, she was troubled and afraid. But later, she would rejoice. You can read this story in Luke 1:26-38. In this narrative we discover Five Causes of Great Joy… all related to the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ!
1) Joy comes from being favored by God! (Luke 1:28-29). What does it mean to be favored by God and how can I get that? One definition I read is that the word favor means “demonstrated delight.” The favor of God can be described as “tangible evidence that a person has the approval of the Lord.” God shows favor to the ones who delight in, connect with, and give honor to Him. (Isaiah 66:2; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Hebrews 11:6). If you want God’s favor, claim Jesus as your Savior and earnestly seek His direction, guidance and leadership! Are you seeking Jesus this Christmas and every day of the year?
2) Joy comes in knowing God extinguishes of my fears! (Luke 1:30). Mary was initially afraid, like anyone in her unbelievable position might be, but the angel reassured her, saying “don’t be afraid.” Why; because she was favored by God! God was very present in her life! That means she was not alone. When God is present in your life, you have nothing to fear. 10 So do not fear, for I am with you… Isaiah 41:10. If you are a believer, the Lord is present in your life! No need to fear.
3) Joy comes in knowing God keeps His promises! (Luke 1:31-33; 37). We know that God keeps His promises! The fact that God kept His promise to send a Savior is definitive proof! Because God kept this promise, there is no doubt that He is a promise keeper! 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” So what is the result of knowing that God keeps His promises? Security, hope, joy! God doesn’t let us down! He is faithful.
4) Joy comes in knowing with God, all things are possible! (Luke 1:34-36). What may seem impossible to us is possible with God! Now, to be clear, God will do what God chooses to do. He may, or may not, do what you think He should do… but clearly, God can choose to do the impossible, if He desires. Maybe you are in what seems like an impossible situation right now. Ask God for His help! He will be at work; He is at work! (Romans 8:28)
5) Joy comes when I surrender completely to God’s will. (Luke 1:38). Mary may have been initially troubled and frightened; but God knew what He was doing when He chose her. She was faithful, obedient, and abandoned to God’s will. Later, she is rejoicing! (Luke 1:47). When you obediently seek and follow God’s will, you will experience joy!
For much more, listen to Advent - Christmas is Coming - Part 3 - Joy!