Summary: Looking at the Joy God offers at Christmas
Christmas Beyond Compare – Joy beyond Compare –
Gladstone Baptist Church – 12/12/04 am
Last Sunday night, I began a 3 part series looking at what an amazing Christmas gift we have been given. The gifts are beyond comparison with anything else we could every receive under the Christmas tree this year or any other year.
We began last week by looking at the gift of Peace – Peace beyond compare. Most people in this world don’t have peace. We all want it, but we are looking in all the wrong places. Most people try to get peace by trying to get rid of things that cause them problems. They try to think about other things, they try to run away on holidays and get distracted, they take drugs to forget about their problems or they just try to solve their problems. But no sooner do they escape from one set of problems, than another set comes on stronger than before. We can’t find peace by subtracting problems from our life.
Instead, we learnt last Sunday night that God’s peace doesn’t come from the absence of problems, but a full, whole and complete life. Instead of taking things away to get peace, we add what it is that we are lacking. Jesus offers us at Christmas Peace beyond compare because he offers
o A solution to our guilt – we can be forgiven and free of guilt
o A son/daughter relationship with God – we can be accepted by God as his children
o A Spirit Controlled Life – we have one who helps us live full and stable lives
o Security in Eternity – our troubles on earth are only temporary. Our peace comes from knowing that we have an eternity which will be spent with God our Father.
We can have peace in this life and the next because of what Jesus did. God offers us Peace at Christmas time through his Son who came to earth.
But not only can we receive Peace that is beyond compare this Christmas, we can also receive Joy beyond compare.
Years ago, a Scotsman decided to migrate to America to start a new life. He wasn’t rich, so he carefully got together his possessions and sold them. Clutching the money that represented his entire wealth he decided that he would save as much as he could on food during the ocean voyage in order to have more money on hand when he reached America. He went to a small store and bought a supply of crackers and cheese to get him through his days at sea. But as the voyage progressed the sea air made him very hungry. To make matters worse, the dampness in the air made his cheese hard and his crackers soft. He was almost desperate with hunger. The last straw came when he caught the whiff of delicious food on a tray a steward was carrying to another passenger. The hungry man made up his mind that he would have one good, square meal, even though it might take some of his precious money. He awaited the return of the steward and asked him how much it would cost to go to the dining room and get a dinner. The steward asked the Scotchman if he could see his ticket for the steamship passage. The man showed his ticket, and the steward told him that all meals were included in the price of the ticket.
The poor Scotsman could have saved the money he spent on crackers and cheese; he could have gone to the dining room and eaten as much as he liked every mealtime.
This is a bit like Joy. As Christians we have been given the gift of Joy – it is part of our ticket of salvation. But too many of us are trying so hard to find Joy on our own terms, that we are completely oblivious to the complete Joy that God has already provided us with. Today, I want to ask you whether you are a cheese and cracker Christian who is starving for some joy in your life or whether you are enjoying every delicious morsel of joy that God has set out for you? Have you found Joy in your Christian life yet?
This Christmas, God offers us Joy beyond compare, if we would only take hold of it.
Before we go any further, let’s ask God to bless our time together and teach us more about his free gifts this morning. Pray
If You’ve got your bibles there, please take them and turn to 1 Pet 1:3 The book of 1 Peter was written by Peter, the apostle to Christians who were facing hardship, trouble and persecution. The emperor Nero was in power and he was directing a widespread persecution on Christians in the empire. In the midst of these threats, Peter writes to them to say that despite all that you are facing, you can be filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. Listen to his words …