Joy……

9 Dec

Joy….

“O come, let us sing unto Jehova, Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; Let us make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For Jehovah is a great God, And a great King above all gods.” Psalm 95:1-3

Although it is a fact that everyone is “always” in the presence of God in the ultimate sense, yet there is a special way in which men who are assembling for worship do indeed “come into God’s presence.” In this light, these verses are a beautiful and proper call to worship in churches all over the world even today.

Coming before God with praise and thanksgiving is the very essence of worship.

Having joy includes feeling good cheer and a vibrant happiness. But joy, in its fuller, spiritual meaning of expressing God’s goodness, involves more. It is a deep-rooted, inspired happiness.

The Bible says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). The Bible says God gives us joy and peace. It tells us that real joy comes from God and is ours forever. The joy that is found in God’s presence isn’t static; it transforms and regenerates us.

Paul, a follower of Jesus Christ, wrote in a letter that joy is a “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22). Spirit is another name for God. Spiritual joy from God gives us a sense of the presence of good, showing His infinite power to govern the lives of men and women. As we learn more that God is All, that He is good, and that there is no power besides Him, spiritual joy will be ours more and more, bringing healing and happiness into our lives.

At the heart of joy is an unshakable awareness that we possess good from God. Joy is part of God’s kingdom. Harmony and painless being are spiritual qualities, and expressing joy brings these qualities into view in our lives.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. 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. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  Luke 2:4-14

I want each of you to know the real joy of Christmas. The angel announced the source of that joy to the shepherds on that first Christmas night: “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Imagine how frightening the shepherd’s experience would have been. They had been sitting in the dark night, perhaps with only the light of a flickering fire, when suddenly the sky lit up like noontime! Add to that the sudden appearance of the angel. It was enough to scare anyone!

The shepherds sitting in darkness picture the lost human race, sitting in the darkness of sin and the shadow of death. When the glory of God in His holiness suddenly breaks in on people who live in the darkness of sin, the only response is great fear. In the Bible, even when godly people encounter God or His holy angels, fear is the only response.

The witness of the shepherds further confirms the historical accuracy of these events. There was no reason for them to fabricate a story about seeing the angels. Mass hallucinations of this sort are highly unlikely. Verse 20 affirms that the things that the shepherds heard and saw were “just as had been told them.”

The things that they heard and saw—a common couple and their baby in a stable—were not the sort of things one would fabricate. If people were going to make up a story about the birth of a Savior, it would have sounded more like a fairy tale, with a palace in Jerusalem, not a stable in Bethlehem. The Savior would have had magical or mythical qualities. But there is none of that. Rather we find the straightforward reporting of events as they happened.

Christmas hath a darkness

Brighter than the blazing noon,

Christmas hath a dullness

Warmer than the heat of June,

Christmas hath a beauty

Lovelier than the world can show:

For Christmas bringeth Jesus,

Brought for us so low.

Earth, strike up your music,

Birds that sing and bells that ring;

Heaven hath answering music

For all Angels soon to sing:

Earth, put on your whitest

Bridal robe of spotless snow:

For Christmas bringeth Jesus,

Brought for us so low.

_

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

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