Joy to the World

So many things in this wonderful life bring us joy. Some things that bring me joy are hiking in massive and beautiful terrain, fishing on my kayak, meeting with my fellow elders every Monday morning before life starts, tickle fights with my two boys, and dates with my wife. The list could go on for a very long time if I were to think harder about it. Many things in this world cause joy.

As the time leading to Christmas continues to dwindle I’m reminded of the Joy that the birth of the King brought/brings. Even before the birth of Jesus an angel was telling the “to be” father of John (the baptist) that his birth would bring joy to his dad and the many people would be joyful when John was born. That’s right, I’m talking about the birth of John. John was sent before Jesus the Messiah King to sort of pave the way for him.

Luke 1:14 

14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,

The idea is that the advent of Jesus was so incredibly special that even the events (in this case John’s birth) that were to lead up to it would bring much joy and gladness to all who knew.

Just after this in the story pregnant Mary goes to visit more pregnant Elizabeth, I suppose to talk about breast feeding and the best OBGYN and which brand of diapers would be the best. As soon as she got there John, still inside his mother, Elizabeth, jumped for joy at the coming of King Jesus.

Luke 1:44 

44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

Never before or after has there been a more significant conversation between two unborn children.

Later, when the angel was talking with the shepherds that wonderful night and their immediate reaction was fear, the angel said the news he was telling them was good and that it was joyous!

Luke 2:10 

10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

When God created everything, he did so in such a way that we would experience peace and harmony and that we would enjoy our wonderful loving creator. Could you even imagine a world where men and women spent their days in the most beautiful surroundings and where God himself walked amongst us in perfect harmony and relationship? How unfathomably splendid that must have been! A Perfect World.

The heart of man turned against God and from that moment on we’ve been hiding our nakedness and blaming everyone and everything but us. Despite the little things every day that bring us joy, that joy is only temporary at best. My hikes end. Kayaks flip. Elder meetings are followed by day jobs. Those tickle fights end with adolescent injury. And Dates with my wife only last so long, then another is needed. Even the things that bring us all joy, only bring joy for brief moments. This is because they are only mere trailers of the bigger motion picture.

My hikes remind me of the greatness and creativity of God. Peaceful mornings and evenings on my kayak remind me of the relaxing peace of the kingdom of God. Monday morning elder meetings are a wonderful taste of brotherhood and community experienced only in Christ. Tickle fights with my boys are a joyous and happy picture of what reconciliation with our loving Father looks like. Those dates with Donna fill a canvas with colors of the exceeding satisfaction and beauty of the relationship between Christ and his bride, the church.

These things bring temporary joy because the are a taste of the kingdom of God. They are a shadow of Jesus. But they are not him. Nothing can satisfy like our good good Father. There is no greater or more lasting joy then that of the disciple of Jesus delighting in their King.

Christmas is a set apart time during the year that we, disciples, intentionally recognize, remember, and celebrate the advent of our King. There should be no more joyous an occasion than that of the coming of our Lord at Christmas, and the World altering resurrection at Easter.

John 16:19-22

“Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

May you experience the unending joy that comes with a saving belief in the good news of  redemption and restoration of your relationship with God, the Father, this Christmas.

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