As we approach Christmas, we often hear about joy and what a joyful season it is, so we sometimes try to cram all the other feelings of life down inside. If we don’t feel joyful, we may try even harder to create joy by tossing our troubles aside, ignoring our deepest struggles, and just living for the moment. But that’s not what the joy of Christmas is all about. While it may be nice for a moment, it is shallow and short lived.
The gift of joy offered to us in Jesus this Advent season is one of deep and abiding joy. It is a joy so powerful it can hold its own in a dark and hurting world—and in the midst of all our troubles and struggles. The good news is, you don’t have to cast aside your worries to unwrap this gift of joy, which Peter called inexpressible and glorious:
Try it. When you don’t feel joyful, give thanks. Try it out loud, naming three reasons you have to be thankful—or five or ten. Or write them all down. You’ll be surprised how long your list actually gets pretty quickly.
Choose to Obey
In John 15:11 Jesus said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” So what did He tell His disciples? What was that secret to joy? Obedience. In John 15:10 He told His followers to obey His commands. We often want joy to just appear from out of nowhere, but Jesus said it comes from obedience.
Choose to Abide
John 15 also tells us the second part to the secret of joy. It’s our fellowship in the Trinity: Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. Jesus said that just as He remains in His Father’s love, we remain in His love, and our joy is complete. This is not an immediate, quick-satisfaction concept. It’s the idea of continual love and relationship with Jesus that brings the gift of joy into our lives. Jesus used the metaphor of a vine in the John 15 passage because He was describing a process of ongoing growth and nourishment that produces good fruit.
The same is true in our relationship with Him, and our joy is made complete by imitating Christ’s love and obedience. Let this season of Advent be a time of gratitude, obedience, and abiding in His love as we anticipate the joy He brings this Christmas.
Choose to Accept God’s Gift: Jesus Christ
This deep, long-lasting joy will continue to elude you if you have never accepted the gift of God’s Son. Jesus Christ, the perfect sinless sacrifice, suffered and died on the cross for my sins and yours, then He rose from the dead conquering sin and death and offering redemption and salvation to all who believe in Him. Please come talk to me after the service if you are ready to accept God’s first Christmas gift.