JOY – Countdown to Christmas: An Advent Devotional Series
If there’s one thing that all the stores and movies and shopping malls and everything CHRISTMAS tries to sell you on during this time of the year, it’s “Joy.” The concept of it seems to be plastered everywhere we turn, demanding that it ought to reign supreme during the “most wonderful time of the year” with our “holiday greetings and gay happy meetings when friends come to call.” Yet even when we try to follow the instructions of every commercial, this “joy” or “happiness” often feels counterfeit or forced.
So as we continue with our Advent themes of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love as we approach Christmas day, what do we do with “Joy”?
I think it is first important to establish an understanding of the true joy that comes from God. It goes far beyond momentary happiness.
It is an extreme happiness that cannot be deterred by present circumstances. This type of joy comes from God alone. Joy can often be experienced when a Christian thinks about salvation, eternal life, or Jesus.
As we look at the Bible, we find some things about what it says:
- Romans 15:13 tells us we cannot will ourselves to experience joy. It comes from God alone.
- In Galatians 5:22, we see that it is a fruit of the spirit and that we experience it more as we seek God.
- In John 16:22, we find that no one can take joy from us. It is given to us by God himself, no one has the ability to rob us of our joy. No matter what circumstances we encounter, no one can take this away.
The Bible has a lot to say about “Joy”, as it appears almost 100 times.
But why does this matter?
This matters because, while we wait for Christ to come again, we don’t have to despair. God has given us a joy that no one can take away. No matter what happens in this dark world, we can experience light.
We experience difficulties differently than the world. We have light even in the darkest moments.
Joy is essential to the Christian experience. We cannot get far without it, and we need it as we, like the shepherds, anticipate the coming of our Savior.
This third week of Advent, let us remember that the good news of Jesus’ birth has the power to bring us great joy this Christmas season. Our joy isn’t dependent on what is going on in our life, in our world, or the people that we are with. It doesn’t depend on the gifts we give or the gifts we find under the tree. No earthly thing can ever give us complete joy. Our joy comes from God as a gift. Our joy is encompassed in our Savior, King Jesus.
Father, you offer that same joy to us now if we know you and recognize Jesus as our Savior and Lord. You gave us a reason to celebrate when you gave us the unspeakable gift of Jesus Christ. You came to dwell among us. You went to Calvary’s cross for us. You overcame death and rose from the dead for us. You forgive our sins and give us eternal life when we believe in you. Flood our hearts with joy this Advent season as we reflect on the good news of Jesus’ birth. In Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen.