Ho! Ho! Ho! It is the Christmas season. My young grandchildren love all the aspects of this time of year.
Hanging ornaments on a tree; sipping hot apple cider; playing in the snow; the anticipation of unknown gifts.
One tradition my family has enjoyed for over 50 years is to get together and decorate Christmas themed sugar cookies with frosting and toppings while Christmas music is playing in the background.
Joy to the World is a very popular Christmas carol we like.
That word joy is the word God chose to announce and describe the original Christmas.
God announced in Luke 2:10 the birth of Christ by having His angels shout, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people”.
God was planning the birth of Jesus for – well – forever.
It is a logical deduction that God chose joy for a definite, deliberate reason.
What is that reason? What is the significance of this joy?
Joy is the salvation for “all people” which includes you and me. This is an unmerited and unlimited gift of love and grace.
It began with the birth of Jesus and ended in His death and resurrection.
Because of that gift, biblical joy is the ability for us to respond to external circumstances with inner contentment and satisfaction.
Rick Warren gave this definition of joy: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”
Warren Wiersbe defines joy as “that inward peace and sufficiency that is not affected by outward circumstances.”
Biblical joy is inseparable from our relationship with God. It springs from our knowledge and understanding of the purpose of life. Joy is the fruit of a right relation with God and having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
God wants us to have this joy. Was joy mentioned just this once? No! There is also a focus on joy hundreds of times in the Old Testament and dozens of times in the New Testament. A few examples are:
Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.
Luke 10:21 “Jesus; full of joy through the Holy Spirit”
John 15:11 Jesus speaking: "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Acts 13:52 “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16 “Be joyful always, pray continually: give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Christian joy is not dependent on circumstances. It comes from what Christ has done.
The title says God chose one word. But it is more than that. Joy is the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. What a thought! Joy represents the entire plan of God for us.
Jesus was born
Jesus died and rose again
We are offered the gift of salvation
We are offered the gift of the Holy Spirit to live within us.
If we desire to be close to God - we can have joy.
God gets joy from this - he wanted a family.
What did the shepherds do? They were amazed and ran to see the baby. What is our reaction; our response; our resolve to this indescribable gift- the indwelling of Holy Spirit- which is Christ in us?
We can become near to God and receive the joy of the indwelling Holy Spirit. This is the best Christmas gift. There is “good news of great joy that will be for all people”.