Summary: Ever since the announcement of the angel to the shepherds announced that Jesus was good news of great joy, we have been singing about the “Joy” that Jesus brings.
The Greatest Life of All
-A Life of Joy-
The angel of the Lord gave a reassuring word to the shepherds: “Don’t be afraid! I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David.” Luke 2:10-11 The greatest life is a life of joy.
Ever since the announcement of the angel to the shepherds announced that Jesus was good news of great joy, we have been singing about the “Joy” that Jesus brings.
“Joy to the world, the Lord has come.”
It’s interesting how various fads and styles in music change from year to year, but the Christmas carols down through the years stay the same.
A recent fad in singing is unique. Have you heard about anti-music singing groups? Our Stockton FMC is reaching out to their community with sports and recreation on Saturday evenings. They have reached several leaders in a singing group that volunteer to sing at their events. They are always looking for opportunities to perform, but have a hard time getting bookings. Pastor Paul Koval has made friends with the leaders and has them give their anti-music. Their sounds are growling with loud sounds in a microphone and various anti-music sounds. The music is off key with notes in a minor key. ANTI-MUSIC has been described recently as:
1) The new punk
2) The next big thing
3) The worst thing to happen to you since fishhooks in the eyes.
I checked Google and for anti-music thee are more than 19 million hits.
Much of the contemporary secular music reveals that people are searching for meaning to life. I listed to some of the anti-music it reflects the despair that many youth are feeling in their lives. There is no JOY in the anti-music either in the music or lyrics.
All the Christmas carols carry the theme of “Joy.” What a privilege it is for us to be able to sing out with praise to our Lord.
A group of Korean business leaders – all Christian – visited the United States recently with news about the plight of believers in North Korea. “There has been terrible persecution,” they reported. “And thousands have died for their faith; yet many still worship despite danger and death threats. When they gather, it’s in complete secrecy; and when they sing, it is done in silence. They open their mouths in unison, but they allow no sound from their voices for fear of being, overhead.” (Page 110 – The 12 Ways of Christmas by David Jeremiah)
Can you imagine going through Christmas with no sounds of Christmas carols?
Why do so many people lack joy? Could it be they are so occupied with themselves they are miserable and turn to self -pity?
When Christ is left out of Christmas people celebrate me-mas. Me-mas is a self-centered worldview. There is no joy when we’re the reason for the season.
Early in my ministry I got caught up in memas and forgot what my primary calling was. I was in my third year of ministry and I allowed myself to develop feelings of self-pity. I lost the joy of pastoral ministry. Ministry became drudgery. I deserved better than this. Why didn’t the people understand what an outstanding pastor they had?
I was a leader in the Greater Kansas City Evangelical Fellowship, A trainer for counselors in the Billy Graham Crusade and coordinator of Billy Graham films in local theaters.
Only when I confess my feelings of hostility, critical attitudes of self-pity did I regain my joy.
From personal experience I can tell you that whatever is keeping you from experiencing the joy of the Lord is not worth it.
Honest confession helps you regain the joy of the Lord.
The Angel sang out, “I bring you good news of great joy.” The Apostle Paul had a deep joy in his life. During dark days in his life he sang out, “Rejoice in the Lord and I say it again, rejoice in the Lord.” Philippians 4:4
Too often we focus on our burdens rather than on God. It often is in the odd moments of the day that the termites of negativism and depression get into our minds. We can turn away from negative thinking: “I always get the hardest job” or “Nobody appreciates me?”
By faith we can by an act of our will keep from wallowing in negativism and say in our heart: “All things work together for good to them that love the Lord.” We can sing in our heart, “This is the day the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Remember, whatever your thoughts or actions you take, the emotions you feel, you are fully responsible for them.” If you are in the will of God, then whatever happens to you does matter to God and He is your refuge and strength.