1. Tonight we have joy in this place. The joy of music bringing forth the joy of Christnas. Christmas is a season of joy. The story of the birth of Christ is a story of joy.
2. This is what the angel told Zechariah when he told him that s on would be born to him - a son who would make ready a people prepared for the Lord..
Luke 1:14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,
3. Even this son would experience joy when the unborn Christ would visit. When Mary visited Elizabeth, we read that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Luke 1:42-44 In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
4. And of course, the angels, announcing Christ birth to the shepherds, said
Luke 2:10 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.
5. This is a season of joy. Joy To The World, The Lord Is Come.
6. Even those who show little joy at other times of the year experience the joy. For joy is contagious. It passes from one to another in a wonderful way.
7. The focus of our joy is on the Christ child. On the baby Jesus who lay in a manger. At Christmas time we take out the manger scene. We worship Jesus even if we fail to do so the rest of the year, and we celebrate His birth together.
8. Christmas is a season of joy. There is so much going on around us. And joy is something we experience when something good is happening to us. Like the joy of those Red Wing fans driving around with the flags waving from the cars. But the joy of the things that happen out there is short lived.
9. The euphoria I felt when the Blue Jays won their world series did not last. It was only there for a season. Look at the mess they are intoday.
10. And we can all talk about seasons of joy in our lives. When our children are born, when we meet our future husband or wife, when we experience the happy moments of life.
11. But seasons do not last - summer turns to autumn and autumn to winter - at least that's the way it's supposed to be. (Warm today)
12. And so too, seasonal joys do not last. That is why so many worship in joy in December, and yet find it hard to go to church in January. Is the joy you feel tonight a joy just for the season?
13. If it is you are like the seed that was sown on rocky places. You hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since the seed or word has no root, it lasta only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
14. But the joy of the season can take root. When we allow it to grow in us and when we nurture it. When the joy is not based on seeing Jesus in a manger but at knowing that He lives in our hearts. By seeing Him when He is no longer a baby but the God who stands at the door and knocks. And by opening the door to Him and having fellowship with Him.
15. For true joy , joy that lasts, is not based on what is happening out there. It is based on what is inside of us. It is based on a life that is filled with the presence of Christ. One that has placed its trust in Him. That does not place the baby Jesus in the closet until the following year.
16. It is a life centred upon Christ. It is, as Karl Barth, a defiant "nevertheless" to whatever happens to us. For what is happening around us cannot take the joy away.
17. ILLUSTRATION - Dunkirk train
18. That is why we can have joy at all times. Why Jesus could say:
Luke 6:22-23 Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.
19. Friends my prayer for you is that this will be a season of joy for you. But more than that, I pray that you will live a life of joy. Remembering that God did send His only Son that you may have eternal life. And nothing else in our life can take that away.
20. For God is working things out for our good. The proof of that is in the manger and on the cross.