“Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” The verses of the familiar holiday carol waft through the holiday rush at big box stores, yet for many the holiday season is not a joyful one. In his final prayer for the disciples, Jesus promised the full measure of His joy. Jesus prayed this heartfelt prayer before he died: “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them” (John 17:13). Then why are folks discouraged, disappointed, and depressed? What does it mean to have real joy? You might be familiar with the concept of it. Imagine the jam-packed jubilation of Jesus. It’s a stretch, huh?
Joy, like any other attitude, can be here one day and gone tomorrow. Joy is not a sure thing just because we know Jesus as our savior. According to Dictionary.com, joy is “the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.” If so, couldn’t we experience a sense of joy just by eating a hot fudge sundae (without the calories)?
Joy is not an emotion that can be forced, fabricated, or faked. But the good news of great joy came when Jesus was born.
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’” — Luke 2:10-11
For years, I was looking for joy in all the wrong places. As a teenager, I was angry, rebellious, and promiscuous. I thought I could find joy in substance abuse of many kinds: tobacco, bottles, chemicals, or the favorable opinions of others. As I became more addicted, I was deeper entrenched into an unhealthy lifestyle. I chose illegal methods to support my rampant drug habits. At age 17, I went to work at a Christian camp in Lake Tahoe, surrounded by believers who loved me in spite of my weird hair, anger issues, and bad habits. God allowed me to experience His desire for me through this amazing staff who loved me. They chose to love me with God’s help, showing me God’s patience and grace by their daily service to me. And the best part? They regularly spoke 1 Peter 4:8 over me: “Love covers a multitude of sins.” Through their lie-penetrating passion for showering God’s love over me, God allowed me to receive the gift of His son. I repented from my sin and accepted God’s gift of salvation. So this Christmas, it is my joy to share how God’s love has changed everything in my life. And that love of God has activated my joy to overflow.
Christmas is all about the love of God. God loves you and has a plan for your life. God’s love is unconditional. God’s love is perfect. How do we know God loves us? Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus Christ is the only answer to the problem. He died on the Cross and rose from the grave, paying the penalty for our sin. He provided a way for us to have a relationship with God.
ReciteJohn 3:16, and at the pause, say your name aloud and fill in the blank. John 3:16 “For God so loved _______ (and put your name here) that He gave His only begotten son, that if ________ believes in Him, ________ should not perish, but have everlasting life.” What AMAZING love!
Can I ask you a personal question? Is there any reason why you cannot receive Jesus right now?
God has loved you since before the beginning of time. He gave you a gift; His son Jesus Christ died for you on the Cross and rose from the grave. He has a plan for your life; don’t miss out on the life God has for you!
We can’t clean up our act ourselves. I know—I’ve tried. God has allowed Jesus’ blood to cover our sins so we can have fellowship with Him.
1 John 1:9 says, “If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Do you want joy? Have you asked Jesus to forgive you for your sins? If not, then why not do it now?
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your son, Jesus, to be our savior. Luke 2:10-11 says, “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’”
Thank you Lord, for promising the full measure of Jesus’ joy.
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” —John 17:13
I know I am a sinner and need your forgiveness.
I believe You died for my sins.
I want to turn from my sins.
I invite You to come into my heart and life.
I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her.” —Luke 1:45