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Summary: Christmas is about the joy found in Christ

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(adapted from Bob Russell)

SERIES: “CHRISTMAS CAROL THEOLOGY”

TEXT: PSALM 98

TITLE: “JOY TO THE WORLD”

INTRODUCTION: A. Christmas can be quite stressful

--planning parties, buying just the right gifts, preparing elaborate meals

1. Instead of bringing joy, it can bring frustration

a. If you allow it

b. If you focus on the wrong things

2. A woman was in the mall doing her Christmas shopping. She was tired of

walking through every aisle of every store to find just the right present. She was

stressed out by the mounting debt on her credit card. She was tired of fighting the

crowds and standing in lines for the registers. Her hands were full and when the

elevator door opened, it was full. “Great!” she muttered and the occupants of the

elevator, feeling her pain, graciously tightened ranks to allow a small space for her

and her load.

As the doors closed she blurted out, “I think whoever came up with this

Christmas junk ought to be found, strung up and shot!” A few others shook their

head or grunted in agreement. Then, from somewhere in the back of the elevator

came a single voice that said, “Don’t worry. They already crucified him.”

3. Christmas is not about us

--It’s about how God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son that

whoever believes in Him might have eternal life

4. Christmas is about joy in Christ

C. The edgy entertainer Madonna was once asked, "Are you a happy person?"

1. She replied, "I am a tormented person. I have a lot of demons I am wrestling

with. But I want to be happy. I have moments of happiness. I am working towards

knowing myself, and I am assuming that will bring me happiness."

2. So many people are searching for happiness but not really finding it.

--We have access to so much in the way of possessions, entertainment, education,

but still are not fulfilled.

D. The Bible does not really talk much about happiness, but it does say much about joy.

--Joy has a deeper meaning than happiness.

1. Happiness has to do with what happens to you and fluctuates according to

circumstances.

2. But genuine joy overrides circumstances.

--Joy is an inner sense of well-being that abides when circumstances are

unfavorable.

E. Almost 300 years ago Isaac Watts wrote the hymn titled, "Joy to the World."

1. Although it has only a veiled reference to the birth of Jesus ("The Lord is come; let

earth receive her king"), it is considered a Christmas carol.

2. But, actually, it was inspired by Psalm 98.

--Ps. 98:1-9 – “Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things;

his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has

made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has

remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of

the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Shout for joy to the LORD , all the

earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the

harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the

ram’s horn- shout for joy before the LORD , the King. Let the sea resound, and

everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands,

Let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the LORD , for he

comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the

peoples with equity.”

3. So lets take a look at the song "Joy to the World" by stanzas and review the

reminders about what still brings genuine joy to life today.

I. The first stanza teaches: THERE IS JOY WHEN THE KING IS RECEIVED

--"Joy to the world! The Lord is come! Let earth receive her king; let every heart prepare Him room, and

heaven and nature sing."

A. Not everyone was joyful when Jesus was born.

--King Herod was not happy.

1. He learned first about the birth of Jesus from the magi, a group of foreign astronomers who came to

his palace searching for a new world ruler.

2. Herod was troubled. He was paranoid, so much so that he had already murdered three of his own sons.

He was not going to tolerate a rival king even if he was an infant.

3. There are still many who reject Jesus as king because they see Him as a threat to their selfish desires,

individual freedom, insatiable greed, and intellectual pride.

B. In contrast to Herod, the wise men received Jesus as a king.

1. Who were these wise men?

--advisors both good and bad

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William Cain

commented on Nov 20, 2007

that just about says it all, unfortunately we professionals in the church do little but add to the pressures of our people, all in the name of being relevant. I'm done ranting...Happy Holy days

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