Dec. 19, 2021
Rediscover Christmas: Joy
Luke 1:5-7, 24-25, 39-55
a. Advent: Means coming or arrival.
b. Rediscover Christmas – The Attributes of Christ Captured in the Story of His Birth.
i. Peace: Genuine & lasting peace only comes through faith in Jesus.
ii. Hope: The confident expectation that is rooted in the one who is 100% dependable—Jesus—not in ourselves or our circumstances.
iii. Love: God is Love—If I love God, I will love others like God loves me.
iv. Jesus—Christmas Eve
2. Biblical Joy:
a. Joy has its source deep within.
i. Sometimes people can burst or erupt with joy.
ii. Sometimes joy slowly bubbles to the surface in a person’s life.
b. Biblical joy is not found in the absence of difficulty, but rather in the presence of Jesus.
c. The Christmas story and its struggling cast of characters:
i. The Israelites experienced prejudice, exploitation, and oppression.
ii. Mary experienced fear and anxiety.
iii. Joseph experienced (perceived) betrayal and resentment.
iv. Shepherds experienced shock and confusion.
v. Wisemen experienced bewilderment and exhaustion.
vi. Herod experienced insecurity and rage.
d. Because Christ has come to be God with Us, we can experience joy no matter what struggles we may go through.
3. Joy as Mothers
a. Zechariah and Elizabeth
In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
The archangel Gabriel’s first miraculous pronouncement to Zechariah and Elizabeth.
19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.
25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
> Elizabeth received the news with excitement and relief.
i. The archangel Gabriel’s second miraculous pronouncement to Mary.
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
> Mary received the news gracefully and willingly.
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
ii. Mary and Elizabeth each have a story of a miraculous pregnancy.
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.
iii. Against the backdrop of disgrace, discouragement, grief, and shame, JOY comes bursting through for these two mothers-to-be!
“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
‘And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”’
iv. Joy has filled their hearts despite their circumstances.
a. It’s okay to be joyful and happy.
i. The Bible doesn’t make much of a distinction between joy and happiness.
ii. Our longing for happiness and joy is a natural desire that God has placed within us as a reflection of his own joyful nature.
b. Joy is our strength.
“Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength’”.
i. Our true source of happiness, joy, and fulfillment comes from Jesus Christ.
ii. The joy of the Lord can be felt no matter what we are going through.
c. Choose joy.
i. Rejoice is the verb form of joy. It’s the action of feeling or expressing joy and delight.
ii. To rejoice is to return to joy. It’s a choice and an action we can take to return to joy.
iii. Whether we are buried in discouragement, or everything is going our way, none of us can summon an unending supply of feel-good happiness all the time.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
iv. Let’s rediscover Christmas this year by embracing joy, no matter what we’re going through.
5. Joy is not found in the absence of difficulty, but rather in the presence of Jesus.