Summary: A Christmas message about the power of the joy of the Lord in a believers life.
August 20, 1995
Like the old song says it’s the most wonderful time of the year!
The Christmas season is upon us once again and its time to think about just how we are going to handle everything that comes with this holiday.
Are you ready for a celebration of the birth of our Lord that focuses on spiritual truth, fellowship with family and friends, and the joy of giving; or are you ready to tear your hair out over crowded malls, greedy kids, and overeating relatives who don’t know when its time to go home?
I want to challenge you this first week of December to really get the best out of this joyous time. Why does it matter; you may ask?
Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
There is a strength that comes with the joy of the Lord. Everyone gets down from time to time, but if you start to allow yourself to wallow in self pity, you find yourself becoming weaker. Sometimes we need to stir up the gift that is in us.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
The fruit of God’s Spirit within us is joy, and the kingdom is a matter of joy; these are big issues! We cannot just turn up our noses and say, “Well I’m just a scrooge, I hate this time of year, so everyone can just like it or lump it.”
If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Joy is made full when we obey the Lords will for us, which happens to be to love one another.
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
You may be thinking this morning, “Pastor Dan all that joy talk may be fine for you but you don’t have my mother-in-law visiting.”
Maybe it is the financial pressure, or a family crisis, or something or someone that just makes you feel horrible every year and has been ruining your Christmases for as long as you can remember.
How do you get around that to the blessed joy of the season?
1. Laugh at yourself.
We lose our joy when we get self centered. When the world is revolving around me, I tend to take myself and life just a little too seriously.
Relax, God is not going to fall off the throne if you let down your guard and laugh at the next social faux pas you witness instead of gasping or fainting.
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
It is a two way street between your face and your heart!
A happy look makes the heart joyful, and a joyful heart makes the face happy.
You can’t be rejoicing on the inside while wearing a long face, joy has a facial expression.
One time an elderly lady in our Church responded to a call for healing by coming to the alter. When I came over to pray for her she looked at me with a painfully serious expression and said, “Pastor I have a terribly painful boil on my body that is causing me great distress. I can’t tell you where it is; but it hurts every time I sit down.”
When I rolled on the floor in laughter she was quite indignant. You know sometimes we just need to get over ourselves.