The announcement of Jesus’ birth was focused on joy.
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:10-14)
The joy of the Lord is not defined or constrained by happenings. It is happiness that depends on what happens. The events of our lives determine to a large degree whether or not we will be happy. But joy comes from God, its source is not of this world, but from resting in Christ and knowing him.
In the gospel of John chapter 15 Jesus is speaking to the people. It’s the very familiar talk about the vine and the branches. It is the teaching that just as a branch has no life of its own apart from the vine, and can produce no fruit of its own apart from the life-giving, fruit producing vine, so it is with those who are in Christ. He ended that beautiful teaching about how those of us who follow him should also depend completely on him by saying the following.
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11)
God sent and Christ came for your joy! Because of what Christ has done and is doing for sinful, ungodly people, there is great Joy. Those of us who have peace with God and know the peace of God can have joy running over, not only at Christmas but even in the darkest moments of our existence. I observe a brother here in the city where I live who has battled cancer for many years. Again and again he gets a bit of good news and a lot of bad news from the doctors. Amazingly, it never seems to dampen his joy! I have read of brave souls who were burned at the stake because they refused to deny their faith in Jesus. As the flames lept up around them with fury they raise their arms in praise to God. Now that is JOY!
If you lack joy in your life, run to Jesus!
From my home and my heart, “Joy to the World!” Merry CHRISTmas!