12 Christmas Gifts from Heaven #3 – Great Joy:
“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of GREAT JOY, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:9-10).
Did you notice, in the proclamation by the angel of the Lord, what the third Christmas gift from Heaven is? Great joy! Two simple words, and yet, if we could understand them, and believe them, I believe they could revolutionize not only our Christmas, but indeed our very lives. Great joy! Are those two words that you would use to describe your walk of faith? Too many Christians today are bored and unexcited. However, this is not the good tidings the angel announced 2,000 years ago. Today, let’s go through the Scriptures surrounding the birth of Jesus, and see how often references are made to joy.
When Mary was carrying the Christ Child in her womb, she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, and her cousin said, “For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” (Luke 1:44). Wow! Jesus wasn’t even born yet, and already people were leaping for joy. Then of course in Luke chapter two when the angels appeared to the shepherds, they announced good tidings of great joy. How about when the Wise Men arrived from the east, looking for the one who was to be born king of the Jews? “When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.” (Matthew 2:9-10). It almost looks as if there is a progression of joy here—from joy, to great joy, to exceedingly great joy. However you look at it, the birth of the Saviour, Christ the Lord, was a time of great joy. It makes me think of the words to the familiar Christmas carol, “Joy to the world! The Lord is come: let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing!”
However, some people would ask, “Well, what do we have to be joyful about anyway?” That’s a good question. “Be joyful, because He is thinking of you. Today. Right now. I heard someone say that if God has a diary, you’re in it. If He keeps a yearly calendar, your birthday is circled. If He has a refrigerator, there’s a magnet on the door with your picture on it. You’re so important to Him. He thinks about you every day.” (Ron Mehl, Love Found a Way). The Psalmist David understood the preciousness of this truth when he wrote, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up in the morning, you are still with me! ” (Psalm 139:16-18, NLT).
The Bible tells us to, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice.” (Phil. 4:4). But how can we do that, when we live in a sin-cursed earth, and we have problems and troubles and difficulties that face us every day? The key is to rejoice in the Lord. Our rejoicing is in Him. Our great joy is in the truth that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life in Heaven. God loves us: We are His children! The third Christmas gift from Heaven that God has given to us is great joy. This Christmas Season let us share His joy with others.
Pastor Chris Jordan