This past week we celebrated the third week of Advent with a theme of JOY. Christmas is a time of celebration and lots of festivities. We often think that at Christmas we should have joy in our hearts. However, I believe, as Christ followers, we should have joy in our hearts every day. You might disagree with me and say, “It’s impossible to have joy every single day”. But this is what I believe. Let me explain…there is a difference between “happiness” and “joy”. Happiness is an emotion we may experience when things go our way, or when something good happens in our lives. Happiness can be based on our circumstances. But, TRUE JOY is different from happiness. TRUE JOY is present despite our circumstances.
JOY is celebrating who we are in Christ even when we are living in dark times. JOY is giving thanks to God even when we are facing trials and tribulations. JOY is knowing that God is in control no matter what our circumstance. JOY is what the Apostle Paul encourages us to have always, despite what is happening in our lives. In his letter to the Philippians, chapter 4 verse 4 he says, “Rejoice in the LORD always. I will say it again: Rejoice”. Notice that he doesn’t say anything about our circumstances…he says to rejoice in the LORD always.
The song “Joy to the World” is a beautiful song with a powerful message of why we should be rejoicing. The first verse says: “Joy to the world, the LORD is come! Let earth receive her KING. Let every heart prepare Him room, and Heaven and nature sing.”
We should have joy in our hearts because God, in His great love for us, sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins. Can you imagine what it would be like for us today if the LORD had not already come into the world? Can you imagine the spiritual darkness that would blanket us? My friends, we know that we are living in difficult times. But, that shouldn’t rob us of the joy we have in our hearts. Why? Because Jesus is our JOY.
“Let earth receive her KING, let every heart prepare Him room.” Some people have rejected Jesus as their Savior and King. How abut you? Have you received Jesus as your King? If not, why not? Has your heart prepared Him a room? My friends, Jesus is coming again…how will He find you?
“Joy to the earth the Savior reigns. Let men their songs employ. While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains repeat the sounding joy.” The Savior reigns. His people praise Him. And, even if they were silent, all of creation would shout of His glory.
“No more let sins and sorrows grow nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.” When you allow Jesus to be your source of JOY, He will release you from the bondage of sin. Instead of being overwhelmed with our circumstances, Jesus will remove anger, bitterness and un-forgiveness that try to take root in our hearts. When not dealt with, over time, these things will steal our JOY.
“He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove. The glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love.” My friends, when we look at our world around us we can certainly become discouraged and overwhelmed. We may get caught up in political agendas, the twisted truth, the lies and the deception. We may become fearful of the unknown. But Jesus has overcome the world!! Jesus rules the world. And He rules with truth and grace.
My friends. Jesus is our HOPE. He offers us His PEACE. And, He wants to be our source of JOY. Receive your King. Prepare Him room in your heart. Sing praises to Him. Don’t let sin grow in your heart. Instead, forgive others and let go of anger, bitterness, and resentment. JOY isn’t something you will find wrapped under the Christmas tree. JOY is found in the manger and through the power of the cross. Jesus, our JOY, is coming again. So, rejoice in the LORD always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
If you are having a difficult time experiencing hope, peace and joy during this Christmas season, please call me at (605) 428-3756. I would love to sit down with you for coffee and a chat. Be blessed!
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