JOY TO THE WORLD
Joy! What is joy, what is the source of joy, what makes you joyful? Every year at Christmas time we wish our friends, neighbours and family members a merry Christmas and sing the Carols that speak of the joy of the season. Is it only at Christmas that joy is experienced, what about the rest of the year? Most people find joy in the things they like to do, the places they like to be in, the company they like to be with, but what happens when their source of joy is not there? Is it possible to be joyful when things are not what you expect them to be; when your friends are not around; when you are not able to do the things you like? What about the difficulties of life; you have been laid off from your job, there is not enough money to pay the bills, you have been diagnosed with a dreaded medical disorder; can joy be experienced at such times?
The source of true joy is not in the externals! True joy is experienced from what is within us! It is in the eternals, not in the externals. The Joy that came to the world on that Christmas night so long ago, came in a Person and that Person was the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Angel that proclaimed His birth said to the Shepherds “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” . This “joy” was promised to “all people”, but we must admit that not all people are experiencing this joy, because we learn from Scripture that the joy that Christ gives is an internal and eternal joy that is not dependant upon circumstances or situations that we are experiencing.
Christmas brings the expectation of receiving gifts, and sometimes the bigger and more expensive the gift the more joy is expected. Throughout our life we tend to place our joyfulness in the things we possess, and we accumulate the best of and as much as we can, but somehow the joy lasts only for a short while and then we seek more things to get more joy, and it never seems to end. Soon there is no joy.
Paul the apostle wrote to the Church at Philippi describing what the joy of Christ was like. He began his letter by stating “I am in chains for Christ” , and because of his imprisonment he was not able to be with them in person, things were difficult for him because he had lost his freedom, his so-called friends were making it more difficult because some were preaching the gospel out of selfish ambition and false motives, he had to depend upon their gifts of financial support because he was not able to earn a living, but in spite of all this he was rejoicing. Throughout his letter he makes reference to his joy and rejoicing and encouraged his readers to have the same joy that he was experiencing. His joy was not in what he accumulated or his position in life, he spoke to this when he said “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…” . Paul could rejoice because he knew Christ, not about Him or who He is, for Paul had a personal relationship with Christ.
And at this Christmas time, Do you personally know Jesus Christ? No, not about Him, nor who He is; for it is only in a personal relationship with Christ that you will experience real joy, not only at Christmas but all through the year, and only such a relationship will cause you to share the joy that the Angel and Paul spoke about, which is: “to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”.
That is true Joy!
End Note: All Scripture quotations are from the NIV Bible