Summary: Like peanut butter and jelly, Christmas and joy belong together.
Christmas and Joy: A Natural Combination
1. For some people this year, Christmas is hard; first Christmas without a loved one, perhaps. Or a terminal ailment is hanging on someone’s head, and they know that this will be their last Christmas. Or a marriage has broken up, and this will be the first Christmas apart. Sometimes Christmas can be a sad time.
2. For most people most of the time, however, Christmas is a time for joy.
3. At Christmas time, there is nothing like seeing a child running around or jumping for joy because he is excited about a new toy. Other children, just as happy, are more reserved. The same concept applies to adulthood. So we need to avoid passing judgment on both the reserved and the expressive.
4. The Age of the Messiah, in its fullest sense, the Millennial Kingdom, was prophesied to be a time of amazing joy. In just two verses (Zephaniah 3:14, 17), 8 Hebrew words related to joy or acts of rejoicing are used (Source: ISBE, V. 2, p. 1141).
“Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!” (3:14)
“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (3:17)
5. A $10,000 word defines what it means for us to live by faith in hope of what is to come. It is called “Prolepses,” and is defined as, “the representation or assumption of a future act or development as if presently existing or accomplished.”
So if the Age of the Messiah brings joy, certainly his birthday is a joyful day; and if we are part of his Kingdom –even if we wait its full manifestation in the Millennium --we are to be characterized by that joy now. It is a case of prolepses, anticipation.
Main idea: Like peanut butter and jelly, Christmas and joy belong together.
I. ELIZABETH’S Joy (Luke 1:43-45)
• Tell the story of Zechariah, Elizabeth (Elisheva) and Yochananon
A. Made a Baptist LEAP
B. John himself a source of JOY
1. Those who serve the Lord bring joy to us
2. It is not just about getting the job done; God’s servants are not mere functionaries, but they are people we should enjoy as people
C. The joy of common FAITH
1. Where I came from, there were many ethnic clubs to keep culture and community alive: Italian Club, Slovak, Polish Club, Lithuanian, etc.
2. Part of why we gather is to experience the joy of common faith
3. In the world at your jobs, school, families, community during the week
4. You need time to be with others like you who believe as you do
II. MARY’S Joy (Luke 1:47-48)
A. God was her SAVIOR
1. Despite false teachings about Mary, she was a sinner who needed a Savior
2. She is not a co-savior, but needed to be saved herself, like us all
3. Jesus is the only exception to the “all have sinned” statement of Rom. 3:23
4. President: not compared to God, but the alternative; we compared to God
B. Would be considered BLESSED for all generations
1. Yet she would be respected and known for her role in mothering Jesus
2. Every Jewish girl dreamed of being the mother of the Messiah
3. Jesus came in “fullness of time,” whether by Mary or not (Galatians 4:4-5)
• Application: Mary exemplifies that there is joy in serving Jesus.
III. The SHEPHERD’S Joy (Luke 2:10-11)
A. Extended to ALL people
1. The shepherds, in some sense, represented the common person
2. The Christian faith is inclusive: race, social standing, nationality…
3. Once we come to know Christ, God demands we practice certain moral standards and beliefs, but not before!
4. No shame in being low on the social ladder in God’s Kingdom
5. This is a source of great joy!
B. The Messiah SAVIOR has been born
1. Since the fall of man, mankind had been awaiting Jesus
2. The Messiah has a two-fold ministry, that of a Lamb and that of a Lion. As a Lamb, he atones for the sins of the world; as a Lion, he conquers and establishes his kingdom of peace on earth and goodwill toward men.
3. During his first-coming, he accomplished his task as the Lamb. When he returns, he will accomplish his task at the Lion.
IV. The MAGI’S Joy (Matthew 2:10-11)
A. They rejoiced at God’s GUIDANCE
1. Their hearts were resolute to find the promised one.
2. When God guided them, they followed.
3. God guides those who are eager to follow
4. John 7:17 reveals the correlation between guidance and willingness: