Summary: Jesus was born as the True Joy of ’Christ’-mas. To find true joy we must open ourselves to Him!
“Opening Ourselves To true joy”
Opening ourselves to ‘Christ’-mas
(quotes taken from the NKJV unless noted)
Wakelee Church ~ December 19, 2004
Theme: Jesus was born as the True Joy of ‘Christ’-mas.
To find true joy we must open ourselves to Him!
When was the last time you experienced joy? Not just happiness or contentment…but unadulterated pure joy. Can you remember?
Close your eyes for a moment and try your hardest to think back. Was it the birth of your child or grandchild? Maybe it was a family gathering or just a moment of realization…when was the last time you experienced joy? I invite you to think about that for a minute….(pause)….I invite to come back.
Do you have it? Hang on to it, we’re going to come back to it here in a second…
The Bible speaks a lot about joy, but we rarely do. When was the last time you went up to a person and said, “My, I’m feeling joyful today.” Or “Wasn’t that a joyous moment?” We’re quick to speak about happiness, contentment and satisfaction, but joy is so much more than any of those theee.
The Psalmist is full of “joyous” passages…
Psalm 100:1 – “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth…”
Psalm 98:8 – “Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy.”
Psalm 15:11 – “You will fill me with joy in your presence…”
And Paul even wrote about this joy…
Romans 12:12 – “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
And the familiar passage of Philippians 4:4 – “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: rejoice.”
At one of the annual conferences this year, a pastor stood up to begin the opening worship…His words were these…
When God sends forth the Spirit amazing, joyful things happen…
Barriers are broken,
Communities are formed,
Opposites are reconciled,
Unity is established,
Disease is cured,
Addiction is broken,
Cities are renewed,
Races are reconciled,
Hope is established,
People are blessed,
Joy is at the center of being Christian.
I – “Do not fear…”
“Then the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” – Luke 2:1-10
Isn’t that the story of the shepherds doing their jobs in the field that night. Even though they were at the bottom of the social ladder of their day, they still wanted to feel joy.
But just like us, who search for some inner sense of joy most of the time and fail to find it, when joy showed up that night...the shepherds weren’t joyous about it, but instead wanted to find a rock to crawl under because of their fear.
It is no mistake...no mistake at all...that the words..."do not fear" and "glad tidings of great joy" were both found in the angels proclamation.
The One who was coming...the One who would shake up, wake up and fire up...caused fear. But fear was not the intent...it was "glad tidings of great joy..."
Joy is at the heart of all we do as Christians. Because it was at the heart of who Jesus was and still us.
Don’t believe me????? If you have your Bibles turn them to John 15.
II –“That your joy may be full” – John 15:11, 16:16-24
“…These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)
It’s interesting to note that Jesus spoke of joy, the joy from His Father, through Him, to us.
We see this especially in the book of John. Jesus is teaching the crowds and the disciples about the true vine, when he goes off on a tangent…Jesus can do that…
In this tangent, Jesus talks about following his commandments and love and abiding (or living with) the concept of who Jesus was.
And almost as if he feels the need to explain why he took his teaching down this road, he offers a simple explanation…”These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in your and that your joy may be full.”
The same “joy” that Jesus used here…is the same “joy” that the angels proclaimed…it’s the same joy that the Psalmist wrote songs about, and the same “joy” that Paul said we needed to experience always.
Joy...at the heart of Jesus’s ministry...is what he wanted most for his disciples.
III – “I wept at Bethlehem…” – Bishop Jonathan Keaton
“…Because my mother and grandmother introduced this grown child to Jesus the Christ, Christmas has become a great time of rejoicing…”
This past week our Bishop wrote in article in the Michigan Christian Advocate. In it, he talked about his trip to Bethlehem and the effect it had...hear his words...