What emotion would you use describe Christmas? Fatigue? Exhaustion? Frustration?
In Luke 2:10 (emphasis mine) look at how the birth of Jesus is described:
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.
It wasn't just joy but "great joy" for everyone. In today's post, as we look again at how to prepare for Christmas, I'd like to talk about the emotion of Christmas: joy.
Joy in Bethlehem
The announcement of Jesus' birth brought great joy because Jesus was born as "a Savior" (v. 11). It was the moment in time when Jesus entered humanity to liberate us from the bondage of sin. That was why His "birth announcement" brought joy: people could now live in freedom from the power and punishment of sin.
Pastor, remember the day that you were saved from your sins? I do. It took place in March 1983 while I was living in Atlanta, GA. I can look back with joy as I think of what Jesus did for me and how He changed me from the inside out. The farther I get from the day of my salvation, the easier it is for me to forget the burden I was carrying of my sins. I forget the emptiness I lived with every day without Jesus. So, one way to prepare for Christmas is to look back. Think back to your life before Jesus and rejoice at the life you have in Him.
You can also look forward with joy because Jesus has wonderful plans for you. I know that because of what the Bible says in Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
That is true for you today, pastor. I don't know if 2016 has been a good or a bad year for you but I know you have a bright future in Jesus! You can rejoice over the fact that He is in control of the future and that He is going to do amazing things, in and through your life.
Psalm 16:11 says,
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
"Fullness of joy" can only be found in the person of Jesus. It's not found in a present but in the Presence of Jesus in our lives every day. As you prepare for Christmas, find your joy in Jesus.