“JOY To The World!”
(To go along with this advent devotional, we’ve updated our Spotify Christmas playlist! Check it out here.)
Christmas is a time of anticipation and celebration! For weeks, even months we have been anticipating Christmas day finally arriving. As kids it was all about the gifts we would get Christmas morning- just hoping Santa would come through on that shiny new bike. Now, for many of us it’s the anticipation of time with family, yummy food, and celebrating the gift of Jesus that we have already been given. Celebrating that the Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Prince of Peace came to dwell with us so that we might live in Him!
Christmas is also a time of joy!
A theme of joy runs throughout the story of Jesus’ miraculous birth. This theme runs all the way out to a group of rough and ragged shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. Those same shepherds who were outcast and marginalized by their culture. Those same shepherds who were well acquainted with fear, worry, and rejection- just like many of us are today. To them the angels made the very first announcement of the birth of Jesus. Notice how they described this announcement of Christ’s birth:
“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:10-11
Whether you are reading this devotion on Christmas Day or the days following- don’t miss this truth:
While Jesus came for our sins, Jesus also came for our joy!
On that silent and holy night, the message of Christ’s birth was delivered as “good news of great joy”! God cares about your joy! In fact, God wants to be the source of your joy! While happiness comes from our circumstances, joy comes from a source… a source greater than our circumstances. And in Jesus, God gave the world an eternal source of joy greater than any circumstances we might face!
So what would it look like for you to be a joyful person? What would it look like for us to be people who choose joy because of our Savior- no matter our circumstances?
Two things come to mind- gratitude and generosity. To be a joyful person is to be a person with a grateful heart and a generous life! When we see something that gives us joy, gratitude inevitably wells up and generosity naturally overflows. This is exactly what we see as the theme of joy continues running through the Christmas story. As the three wise men approached the place of Jesus’ birth, we read this:
“And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:9-11
Joy wells up gratitude, and gratitude overflows into generosity! As we finish this year and prepare to start a new decade, let’s choose to be joyful people. Let’s choose joy because of our Savior- no matter our circumstances!
Here is how we can practice this today:
- Acknowledge : Write out your thoughts.
-What area of your life are you tempted to focus on as your source of joy (relationships, material possessions, success in school or work, popularity, future plans, etc.)? Write them down.
-Can you see how these worldly sources never produce lasting joy?
- Posture : Now take those thoughts captive.
Write down this phrase: “Let every heart prepare him room.”
-As we make space in our hearts for God to be our true source of joy, it means we have to let go of lesser things. Open your hands as a physical posture of release.
-Now try and posture your heart to God. What would it take for you to have joy right now in this moment, regardless of your circumstances?
- Prayer : Now invite God into those thoughts.
-Pray and ask God to be your source of joy in life.
-“God, Psalm 16:11 says that ‘in your presence there is fullness of joy’. Help me to have a bigger perspective. You sent Jesus to represent that you are with us. And now you have given me your Spirit so that I can be in your presence at all times. I always have access joy! Help me to acknowledge your presence in my day to day life, and as I do, help me to overflow with gratitude and generosity!”
Amen. We love you guys! Thanks for following along. Merry Christmas! We can’t wait to see you in the New Year!
(If you didn’t check it out before, check out this week’s advent playlist here.)