Joy to YOUR World

One of our most beloved Christmas classics rings out, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come.” So, during this Christmas season, how is the “joy” in YOUR world? Because the Lord has come, we can and should experience abundant joy, but this is not always the case in the midst of work stress, strained relationships, financial pressures, and personal disappointments.

Christmas is a great time to reconsider and cultivate real joy. It is deeper and richer than holiday lights, Christmas carols, wrapped presents, and social gatherings. It is a reality rooted in an authentic relationship with the Lord who has come to impart joy to the personal epicenter of our hearts and minds.

Christmas is a great time to reconsider and cultivate real joy. It is deeper and richer than holiday lights, Christmas carols, wrapped presents, and social gatherings. It is a reality rooted in an authentic relationship with the Lord who has come to impart joy to the personal epicenter of our hearts and minds.

Joy – The Great Christmas Gift

Even before His birth, Christ’s presence in Mary’s womb sparked joy. When Elisabeth, Mary’s cousin and the mother of John the Baptist, visited Mary, she exclaimed, “For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy” (Luke 1:44-45). What an interesting commentary to read that the unborn John the Baptist felt joy at the presence of Jesus in Mary’s nearby womb. This was a supernatural occurrence, but real biblical joy is always supernatural.

The unborn John the Baptist felt joy at the presence of Jesus in Mary’s nearby womb. This was a supernatural occurrence, but real biblical joy is always supernatural.

Christ’s arrival to the earth sparked the glorious announcement to the shepherds, “Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people’” (Luke 2:10). Since that day, the glad tidings of great joy in Christ have changed millions of lives.

Joy – The Great Christmas Experience

In His upper room discourse, Jesus described the power of what it means to “abide” in vital relationship with Him, producing spiritual fruit and authentic love for God’s glory. Then He said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). Clearly, our “full joy” comes from our intimacy with and sufficiency in Christ.

Later, in His Upper Room teaching, Jesus spoke of His departure and the future indwelling reality of the Holy Spirit. Even though His death would create a temporary separation, they would witness His resurrection. Referring to this, Jesus said, “Your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you” (John 16:22). Two verses later, John cites Jesus’ promise, “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24). Our joy is rooted in the reality of the living Christ and His faithful and good provision in our lives.

In His high priestly prayer, Jesus made a powerful declaration as He spoke of His finished work on earth and spiritual investment in the disciples. Jesus prayed that we may have His very joy fulfilled in us (John 17:13). Our joy is the very joy of Jesus Christ. Paul described true Christians as those who “rejoice in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:3).

In 1 John 1:4, the Apostle wrote, “These things we write to you that your joy may be full.” In 2 John 12 he also referred to his future visit in which he planned to teach God’s people more about the truth of Christ. The result would be a full experience of joy. The reception of God’s truth is also fuel for great joy.

This Christmas, we can abide in Christ, receiving the fullness of His joy in us. This joy is made real as we cherish His truth and trust Him for all of our needs, by the indwelling Spirit. Everything else, no matter how pleasant, is secondary as a source of joy.

This Christmas, we can abide in Christ, receiving the fullness of His joy in us. This joy is made real as we cherish His truth and trust Him for all of our needs, by the indwelling Spirit. Everything else, no matter how pleasant, is secondary as a source of joy.

Joy – The Great Christmas Hope

Perhaps the Christmas season, more than any other time of the year, reminds us of how quickly life passes and changes. Rather than grieve or complain about the vapor trail of our fleeting memories, we should let our Christmas worship spark encouragement in the reality of our eternal joy.

Perhaps the Christmas season, more than any other time of the year, reminds us of how quickly life passes and changes. Rather than grieve or complain about the vapor trail of our fleeting memories, we should let our Christmas worship spark encouragement in the reality of our eternal joy.

First Peter 1:6-9 speaks of our temporary trials in this life that strengthen our faith in Christ. As we embrace our eternal hope we “rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,” knowing we will receive the end of our faith – the salvation of our souls. Writing later on the same theme, Peter reminds us that in this life we partake in the sufferings of Christ, but that someday we will “be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:13). Luke 6:23 tells us to “leap for joy” when we consider the eternal rewards of heaven. Jude 24 affirms that Christ will soon present us “before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.”

C.S. Lewis believed that joy is the atmosphere of heaven. The gospels describe heaven as a place of “joy in the presence of the angels” as sinners on earth are repenting and turning to Christ (Luke 15:7 &10). When faithful stewards are rewarded in eternity, Jesus describes their entry into heaven as “the joy of the Lord” (Matthew 25:21 & 23).

Rejoice!

So, this Christmas, let the fullness of joy regulate your celebrations of Christ. It is the ideal time to recharge your joy – or as Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). The minor prophet Habakkuk spoke of the many disappointments, losses, and struggles of this life, but affirms, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills” (Habakkuk 3:18 & 19). By His strength, I pray this Christmas will be a season of great, high-stepping joy in YOUR world.

Copyright © 2021 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.