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Joy Is Not Far Away!  

We’re just days away from Christmas now. If you aren’t in the Christmas spirit yet, you better hurry; it will be here before you know it! As we prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, and the great joy it causes for all the people, let’s spend a few minutes focusing on joy.  


On Monday, we’ll celebrate Jesus’ birth and the salvation He offers all who believe. Jesus’ very name elicits salvation; it literally means, “the Lord is salvation.” To know Him as Savior and to surrender fully to Him as Lord offers unspeakable joy for Christ followers.  


In Luke 1, we see this theme of joy developing. From Mary’s celebratory visit with Elizabeth and the enthusiastic, joyful greeting Mary, and the baby she is carrying, get from her. Even the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy when Mary came in. (Luke 1:39-45)


It’s important to understand that Elizabeth’s acknowledgement that Mary would bear God’s Son is not about praising Mary, but about praising the Son she would bear.  As one commentator writes, this was a profound expression of Elizabeth’s confidence that Mary’s Child would be the long-hoped-for Messiah—the one whom even David called Lord. This joyful greeting from Elizabeth was not about Mary, though I’m sure Elizabeth was glad to see her; but it was about Jesus, the Savior to come. 


Jesus offers great joy to all who know Him as Savior and Lord! Elizabeth and her baby responded to Jesus’ presence with great joy, and He hadn’t even been born yet. But they already knew Who He was… the promised Messiah!  


Advent is a special season of the year for Believers. It is a time for us to prepare, anticipate, wait for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. We light candles each Sunday that mark the countdown to that very special day. The illumination those candles emit represents these wonderful gifts that Jesus offers all of us… the hope, peace, joy and love that we receive in and through Him.  


Elizabeth, and John in her womb, were anticipating, awaiting and already celebrating the promised Messiah and all He would bring their lives. And their response was pure joy!  


Growing up, I loved Christmas. One of my favorite memories is getting that Sears catalog and turning to the back where the toys were! I spent hours looking through that catalog, picking out the toys I liked best, and hoping I might find a few of them under the tree on Christmas morning. And when that morning arrived, it was always pure joy when I did.  


The great news is Jesus offers us that kind of joy every day! Yet, some days, we just plain miss it. Do you know why? We the noise of life, the busyness of life, the chaos of life to crowd Him out, push Him aside, usurp Him. And when we do that, we are missing the greatest joy we will know and experience in this life. To be in Jesus’ presence, to be near to Him, to stay near to Him, brings unspeakable joy, even in the darkest seasons of life.  In fact, it is in those darkest seasons when we desperately need to be near to Him.  


Maybe you’re struggling this Christmas season; maybe you’re going through a dark season in your life, feeling lonely, broken-hearted, discouraged. You want to experience joy. You crave joy. You need joy. You’re just having trouble finding it…

 

Our joy is in Jesus; in the hope, the peace, the joy, the love he offers us. 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13


My hope is that you will find the joy you’re looking for this Christmas… that joy is really not far away! For much more, click here to listen to: Good News! Part 3 - Joy is Not Far Away. 

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