It’s a term that’s nearly synonymous with Christmas. We see the 3-letter term everywhere, from giant inflatable yard decorations to miniature tree ornaments. Yes, Christmas is known as a season of joy.
Unlike the holiday joy that stems from the spirit of giving, family gatherings, uplifting music, beautiful sparkling lights, and receiving gifts of all sorts, Jesus – our Savior whose birth we celebrate at Christmas – brings the joy that lasts for eternity.
From ancient Hebrew prophecies, proclamations of the coming Messiah were rich with a message of joy. The prophet Isaiah described the coming of our Savior as a time of joy like that of harvest time, like winning a battle and dividing the spoil, or having an oppressive yoke of burden lifted. (Isaiah 9:3)
The angel who appeared to the shepherds in Luke 2:10 announced the birth of Jesus as “good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
Have you ever stopped to consider:
Jesus ushers in a tangible level of joy for you and me!
While there is much evidence for God’s gift of joy through Jesus, I offer 5 points during this first week of Advent that will help turn our focus to God’s precious gift of His Son and the joy He brings.
There is fullness of joy in God’s presence.
(See Psalm 16:11). Consider the holy nature of God the Father. His holiness (sanctification, set apart from evil) dictates that He cannot dwell in the presence of sin. We all have a sinful nature. It’s only by the blood of Jesus – the one perfect sacrifice – that we are washed, removed from our sin, and able to enjoy fellowship with the Lord and find joy in His presence.
Jesus reveals God’s nature.
Only through our Savior can we fully recognize the nature and glory of the Father. (See Hebrews 1:3). God wants to be known. He says in His Word that we will find Him when we search for Him with all our heart. He draws us to Himself and has revealed Himself through the gift of His Son. There is great joy in knowing our Creator.
We’re set free from sin through Christ.
By walking in obedience to His Word, we are no longer slaves to sin but are made free (see John 8:33, 36). We find liberation by walking with Christ, escaping the control of sin, and rejecting the shame of past mistakes. In Christ we are blessed, chosen, adopted, favored, redeemed, and forgiven (Ephesians 1:3-7). What great reason for joy!
Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to be with us and live in us.
The Spirit is our counselor, guide, and His manifestation in us produces the fruit of joy. We repeatedly see in Scripture that the disciples of Jesus were (are) filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. Such joy is ours to grasp today!
The love of Jesus brings joy.
Remaining in close fellowship with Jesus (abiding) allows for His love to work in and through us. It deepens our love for Christ and enlarges our capacity to love others. Through abiding love, Jesus not only gives joy but makes our joy complete (see John 15:9-13).
When you are reminded of joy throughout the Christmas season, let it spur your remembrance that the foundational nature of our joy is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.