The Christmas season is a season of joy.
Because Jesus, the Christ Child, came to this earth to bring: “great joy to all the people” (See Luke 2:11)!
It’s great news, isn’t it?
Why then, is it that we lead such joyless lives? Especially around the time of year when we are supposed to be celebrating the birth of the Christ Child? Could it be that we have replaced the Christ Child with santas and reindeer and elves and snowmen? Could it be that are have become so ensnared with our trials and negative circumstances that we can’t even see the Christ Child and His gifts anymore? Could it be that we simply do not know the Christ Child? That our relationship with Him has grown cold? Could it be that we’ve never experienced the Salvation and the joy that the Christ Child brings?
Welcome to JESUS JOY! Restoring the Joy of Christmas–All Year Long!
Over the course of the next three Nuggets, we will be exploring each of these questions and looking for Bible-based answers and solutions. Our goal is for you to become filled with that “great joy for ALL the people”, and not just for the upcoming Christmas season, either; but for the New Year, and for the rest of your lives!
But before we go on, perhaps it would be good to define this “great joy” that the angels announced to the shepherds in the fields…
The gospel of Luke records: “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people…'” (Luke 2:10-11 NLT)
This “great joy” they are announcing was this:
“…Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'” (Luke 2:12 NLT)
Jesus, the Messiah, the Lord, born as a baby, wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger is our “great joy”. In other words, this “great joy” is rooted in none other than Jesus, the Christ Child, whose birth we celebrate this month.
But this isn’t a new idea, is it? Going all the way back to the books of Moses, we find: “And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male servants and your female servants…”(Deuteronomy 12:12 ESV); “And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God in ALLthat you undertake.” (Deuteronomy 1:18 ESV); and “and you shall sacrifice peace offerings and shall eat there, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 27:7 ESV)
In other words, we are told throughout Biblical history to rejoice in the presence of the Lord!
King David, 1000 years before the Christ Child was born, took this to an even higher level: “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Ps. 16:11 NLT). David also invites us to: “Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!” (Ps. 34:8 NLT).
Though Jesus hadn’t even yet come, David already knew that fullness of Joy comes from being in the presence of the ultimate King and from taking refuge in Him.
Jesus Himself spoke about joy: “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!“ (John 15:11 NLT); and “I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy…I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.” (John 16:20-22 NLT). In His pastoral prayer, Jesus said: “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy.” (John 17:13 NLT)
This joy wasn’t just for the disciples of Jesus’ time, either. Paul writes: “Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil 3:1 NLT). Later in the same book, he writes: “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again–Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4 NLT); and to us through the book of Romans, he writes: “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17 NLT).
There are many, many other Biblical references to joy in the Bible, but I believe you get the picture. Jesus’ Joy is ours, thanks to the loving sacrifice of the Christ Child!
So if joy is ours and we have access to it, how can we bring the joy back into Christmas? And most importantly, how can we live the joy-filled lives the Bible speaks of–all year long?
Join us on Thursday for What is Joy, Anyway? JESUS JOY! Restoring the Joy of Christmas–All Year Long! Part 1.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire JESUS JOY! mini-series, please click here.)