taken from the December 2002 newsletter of
Deeper Life Ministries
"Joy to the world / the Lord is come!"
There is much celebration at Christmas, but sadly, most of the celebration has nothing to do with Jesus.
Only those who know Him, really know Him, have any concept of the joy He brings. So if you know Him, think with me for a few moments of the joy of Jesus. One way to quickly put it in perspective is to try to imagine what life would be like if Jesus had not come.
JOY to the world! Jesus IS come! And as the song goes on to urge us: "Let earth receive her King! / Let every heart prepare Him room!"
Jesus gives us the joy of forgiveness. He wipes the record clean and takes away all condemnation. The misery of guilt is replaced with the hallelujah of a full pardon.
Jesus gives us the joy of His abiding presence. He comes into our hearts and speaks words of comfort, healing, love, goodwill, peace, direction, and encouragement. He shows us our selfishness, our pride, and carnality; and He offers us Himself. In communion with Him, we learn no longer to rely on ourselves, but instead to trust Him. In communion with Him, the riches of His Word are revealed. From one phrase of Scripture, we may find direction for a tough decision, peace about an unresolved difficulty, or insight for a tangled problem.
Jesus gives us the joy of purpose and meaning. We can find eternal purpose in our work, and it changes from a daily grind to a daily ministry. Our friendships take on new meaning. Instead of seeking only to have fun with our friends, we begin to think in terms of blessing one another spiritually. A difficult neighbor is suddenly an opportunity. An interruption becomes a divine appointment.
Jesus gives us a whole new way of seeing. We see people, possessions, events, responsibilities, recreation, relationships -- everything -- from the perspective of eternity. We delight in those people who are drawing closer to Jesus, and we sorrow over those who depart from Him. Our eyes light up at the advance of the Gospel, and the allure of the world no longer fascinates us. We are repulsed by its tinsel and glitter and hollow offers.
Jesus gives us the joy of hope. This life is not the end. There is a future. There is an end coming to the present world system. And although we do not know the time appointed, God has already marked the day, the hour, the very second for His Son to break into this world and renew all things. We who know Him look forward to it. All creation (wiser than many people) groans and travails for that day of redemption.
Oh, Jesus! What joy there is in Your coming! What floods of joy break forth in the lives of those who actually receive You!
When we really think of Jesus and then contemplate the conditions around us, Christmas must be one of the greatest ironies of the modern world. So much celebration, so little true joy!
For those of us who know Him, this is a time to bless His name, a time to join heart and soul with the testimony of the angels, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14). "For unto you is born . . . a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord!" (v. 11).
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