For the third Sunday of Advent this week, our journey continues with the Star of JOY. We sing Christmas hymns like “Joy to the World” and “How Great our Joy,” and I bet, you know the song “I’ve Got That Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart” too. Joy brightens our hearts, but it is often confused with happiness. Joy is more than just being happy; it’s deeper inside us. But let’s be specific and talk about “Christian joy.” Christian joy is felt in our very souls and produced by the Holy Spirit as He causes us to realize the love and beauty of Christ in the Bible and in the world. We know that God sent His Son, Jesus, to be born to us as the HOPE for the world because He LOVES us so much which causes us all to have great JOY this season and every day.
The Bible says the angel of the Lord told the shepherds the night Jesus was born, “Do not be afraid; I bring you good news of great JOY that will be for all people. Today in the city of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ, the Lord.” (Luke 2: 10-11) The one thing I’d like you to remember from today’s lesson is that His great JOY is for ALL people. All means you, me, your family, your friends, you neighbors, people you don’t know from everywhere around the world — everybody on earth. Pretty amazing isn’t it when we think about it! God’s hope and love and joy is meant for each and every person on this planet!
You may think to yourself though, “I can’t have that kind of joy in my heart because I have too many problems like _______.” (Fill in the blank.) Well, guess what? We can all have that sort of joy in our hearts because Christian joy doesn’t mean that we don’t have questions, fears, or problems. It means that we know and believe Jesus is bigger than those. Jesus came to earth to connect Himself to us, so He will never leave us alone to fend for ourselves. We can have “Jesus JOY” no matter what is going on in our lives because Jesus is alive and well in our hearts.
That kind of JOY leads to worship and thankfulness to our Savior. I hope this week you will think about and celebrate the JOY that comes from Him who was born a baby to grow up and save us. He is still Jesus with us, so put that” Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in YOUR Heart!”
Let’s pray. Father God, thank You for sending Jesus to earth, so He could be our JOY forever and ever. No matter what happens or is going on, we can have the JOY from knowing that we always have Jesus who will help us get through anything and everything that may be in our lives. May we all have that JOY this season and the rest of our lives and then share it with others too. In Your name we pray, Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church.