Summary: Christmas declares, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come.” God’s desire is that we would experience the good tidings of great joy proclaimed by the angels 2,000 years ago.
REDISCOVERING THE JOY OF CHRISTMAS
OPENING THOUGHT: Christmas… is it really the most wonderful time of the year?
• Many people find this season stressful and depressing!
ILLUSTRATION: Typical of last minute Christmas shoppers, a mother was running furiously from store to store. Suddenly she became aware that the pudgy little hand of her three year old son was no longer clutched in hers. In a panic she retraced her steps and found him standing with his little nose pressed flatly against a frosty window. He was gazing at a manger scene. Hearing his mother’s near hysterical call, he turned and shouted with innocent glee: "Look mommy! It’s Jesus - baby Jesus in the hay!" With obvious indifference to his joy and wonder, she impatiently jerked him away saying, "We don’t have time for that!"
“Wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness.” (Isaiah 8:22, NLT).
• Isn’t this a picture of the world we’re living in today? Darkness, depression, despair?
“Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever… The people who walk in darkness will see a great light – a light that will shine on all who live in the land where death casts its shadow.” (Isaiah 9:1-2, NLT).
• That light is talking about the coming of Jesus 2,000 years ago! (see Matt. 4:12-16).
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:1-6, NLT).
• Jesus is wonderful, counselor (knows how to help us), mighty (has the ability to help us), father (cares for his children) and peace (in the midst of our storms and darkness!).
JOY IN CHRISTMAS CAROLS:
• O holy night… A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices…
• Come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem
• Joy to the world! The Lord is come: Let earth receive her King.
THE BIG IDEA: Christmas declares, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come.” God’s desire is that we would experience the good tidings of great joy proclaimed by the angels 2,000 years ago.
JOY IN THE BIBLE: 650 times (joy, rejoice, rejoicing, glad, gladness, delight)
JOY IN THE CHRISTMAS STORY:
• Luke 1:14 – Zechariah was told by the angel, “You will have joy, and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.”
• Luke 1:44 – John the Baptist leaped for joy in his mother’s womb
• Luke 1:47 – Mary rejoiced in God her Saviour
• Luke 1:58 – they were rejoicing with Elizabeth
• Luke 2:10 – the angel proclaimed, “Glad tidings of GREAT JOY.”
A Sunday School was putting on a Christmas pageant which included the story of Mary and Joseph coming to the inn. One boy wanted so very much to be Joseph, but when the parts were handed out, a boy he didn’t like was given that part, and he was assigned to be the inn-keeper instead. He was pretty upset about this but he didn’t say anything to the director.
During all the rehearsals he thought what he might do the night of performance to get even with this rival who got to be Joseph. Finally, the night of the performance, Mary and Joseph came walking across the stage. They knocked on the door of the inn, and the inn-keeper opened the door and asked them gruffly what they wanted.