It’s more than just toys & gifts

“Joy to the World” 

Luke 2:8-20 

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. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. 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. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. 

“I enjoy the Christmas season. I like the cheerful decorations, spending time with family and friends, and eating Christmas goodies. My favorite part of Christmas, by far, though, is singing carols—and, above all, “Joy to the World!” 

“Joy to the world! The Lord is come,” God’s people announce at Christmas time. Based on Psalm 98, Isaac Watts’s eighteenth-century carol celebrates the coming of Jesus, the Christ. The joy of the Savior’s coming resounds throughout all of creation, even the fields and rocks and hills and plains “repeat the sounding joy.” This is good news for all of God’s world! 

What’s so good about this news announced each Christmas? Why sing this carol with such exuberance? Watts answers that question in the third stanza, where he declares that Jesus has come to deal with the curse of human sin and rebellion. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus brings the blessing as “far as the curse is found.” 

In Watts’s hymn, this phrase repeats several times—and for good reason. Released from bondage to sin and the power of death over us, we are now freed to live with joy, to love God and our neighbor, and to cultivate the earth God has given us. So let’s sing with joy that good news: “Joy to the world! The Lord is come.” 

Jesus, you have come and released us from the ­power of sin and death. Help us to live in ways that proclaim the wonders of your love. Amen. 

Taken from: Kurt Sellas, 24 December 2018.  

Points to Ponder: 

  1. Since joy has come to the world since Christ came, and since we are in Christ, we should have joy in our hearts every day. So being joyful is not just on Christmas or the Christmas season but everyday of our lives. Our joy is in Christ, the real reason for Christmas, not presents or Santa Clause but in Christ, therefore, joy is something believers always have. However, this does not mean we are superman/woman and don’t feel things, because we always do, (because we are not robots nor is God asking that of us), but remember, when trials come, and they will, we can tap into the joy that Jesus came to give us. That is an advantage we have over the world. We have Christ in us, the hope of glory, praise God!  
  2. Having joy in our hearts helps us make it through tough times. As believers we will go through hard times but we have a joy that the world does not have. Remember that when trials come. We have joy when the world does not. 
  3. Also, this joy is not predicated on circumstance. This joy is something we should always have regardless or what circumstances may be. That is what happiness is. Happiness comes from the root word happenstance which means: when happenstance or circumstances are good we are happy, when they are not, we are sad. However, the joy that comes from God is not based upon circumstance but on the person of Christ and what He has already done! So we have joy no matter the happenstance because our joy is not predicated upon that but we have joy in spite of that!  
  4. If you do not feel that the joy that comes from God this holiday season pray this prayer with me: Closing Prayer: Father I love you. Help me remember the joy that comes from your Son, Jesus the Christ. Holy Spirit fill me more with your presence, fill me with your love, and may the joy that Jesus came and gave us comes alive in me today and every day. If there is anything in me not of you, take it out so I walk a life pleasing in your sight. May the joy Jesus gave be on display in me so I can display it to others as a testimony unto the world.  
  5. Lord, I come against suicide and depression on this holiday season. God fill people with your presence, let them know they are loved. If they are not saved, may they come into a relationship with you and fill them with your joy that destroys depression and insecurities. Lord, break the spirit of suicide right now, I pray, in Jesus’ name, continue to keep us all safe and sound this holiday as we celebrate Your birth, In Jesus’ name, Amen!  

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