As I read the Biblical accounts of the Christmas story, I am impressed with the frequent mentions of JOY.
The shepherds were the first to hear this announcement . . . I bring you good news of great JOY that will be for all the people. (Luke 2:10-11).
When Mary found out that she had been chosen to deliver the child, she said . . . My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit REJOICES in God, my Savior (Luke 1:46-47).
When Mary meets her cousin Elizabeth, she said to Mary . . . As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for JOY (Luke 1:44).
Later the magi . . . when they saw the star, they were OVERJOYED (Matthew 2:10).
Plus there was JOY when the shepherds heard the angelic choir . . . and even more so when they went to Bethlehem to see baby Jesus. The wise men too were exceedingly full of JOY even as they began their journey to find Him. And when they found Him, there was more JOY, praise, and celebration. There was JOY all around at the coming of Jesus.
There is a great difference between the JOY that is found in the world and the JOY that is found in Jesus. Remember the circumstances; Mary, a young virgin, living in a conservative culture, finds JOY in her becoming pregnant. Joseph, a pious, single young man, REJOICES in having a son he did not foster. God’s JOY is truly different. God’s JOY is not based on circumstances or situations, but upon a relationship.
Everything related to the life of Jesus is JOY-infused. As Jesus grew He lived a life of JOY and He offers His JOY to His followers living then and now. Listen to His words of JOY.
John 15:11 . . . I have come so that my JOY may be in you and that your JOY may be full. What amazing words. Embrace these two promises of Jesus JOY . . . He offers:
- HIS JOY IN YOU. He tells us that the JOY He had in Him can be in us. Pretty amazing. The indwelling Jesus offers His JOY to us. The JOY that indwelt Him can also indwell us.
- FULL JOY IN YOU. I love this expression of full JOY. Other translations say . . . complete JOY, perfect JOY. Not partial JOY. Not a drop here and a drop there. Not a JOY that is off and on, but continual. Jesus speaks of a river of JOY flowing from Him to us.
What will be your greatest JOY in celebrating Christmas this year? Will it be the festive dinners? The giving and receiving of gifts? The reunion with family and friends? These are good, but what will overwhelm you with JOY? We hope it’s more than people and stuff. Let it be HIM. Let it truly be JESUS’ JOY.