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Summary: Joy comes when we worry about nothing, pray about everything, give thanks in all things and think about the right things

GOD WITH US BRINGS JOY

Years ago there was a farmer in Nova Scotia who owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that would come up, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops. As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received nothing but refusals. Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. "Are you a good farm hand?" the farmer asked him. "Well, I can sleep when the wind blows," answered the little man. Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with his work.

Then one night the wind howled loudly from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand’s sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, "Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!" The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, "No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows." Enraged by the old man’s response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarps. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred and locked. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down. Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, and he returned to bed to also sleep while the wind blew.

The moral of the story is that when you’re prepared, you have nothing to fear. The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he had secured the farm against the storm. Can you sleep when the storms of life come? Ever since we got rid of our pool I am able to sleep a little better when it is windy outside knowing that nothing is going to happen. We secure ourselves against the storms of life by accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and by grounding ourselves firmly in the Word of God.

This week is Christmas. Today we are continuing our series God With Us and we want to talk about Joy. Christmas is a time of joy, or at least it should be.

Luk 2:8-12 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 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. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

The angels talked about a great joy for all people. That means you and me. Often we do not experience the joy of Christmas. There are many joy killers in our world today. The book of Philippians has a lot to say about joy. In chapter four, Paul talks about the keys to joyful living.

Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things.

Paul says here that if you are going to be joyful you must be able to handle stress and problems when they come about in your life. If you are going to be joyful this Christmas then you have to be able to deal with the stress that often Christmas brings. How do you handle stress? This passage from Philippians talks about four different ways;

1. WORRY ABOUT NOTHING (vs. 6a) – do not be anxious about anything

Worry is a kill joy and a source of stress. We often tend to expect the worst in life. Smithsonian

magazine calls this the Age of Anxiety. There are some worries that everybody on the planet

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