Christmas 2020 should be a season of joy, right? For me, Christmas Day will be the 1st anniversary of my mom’s death. Not much joy there. Moreover, we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Yes, we have vaccines that will be available soon, but we don’t know if it will eradicate the virus eventually if everyone takes it. We also don’t know if everyone will take it or if people will be forced to take it.
As of this writing, we still are not absolutely sure who’ll be taking the oath of office for the presidency of the United States on January 20th. I keep telling myself that no matter who it is, God is still in command, Jesus still is King and the Rapture will happen and can happen any day now.
That, my friend, is where I get my joy. My joy is in the promise that God made us, that whosoever believes that His Son, Jesus, is the Messiah is saved from hell. Furthermore, He came to wash away our sins with His blood on the cross and that He defeated death by rising on the third day. And subsequently, will defeat Satan and His cronies in the end.
Joy is a Choice
Christmas is the season of joy, isn’t it? I mean we’re told that when Jesus was born…
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.Luke 2:8-20 NLT
The shepherds were the first evangelists! How in the world can we mere humans be filled with the joy the shepherds had that night? I’m going to borrow from Dr. Jim Denison one of the best pieces of advice I’ve read this year…
How can we have and share the joy of Jesus in this season as we celebrate his birth?
The answer is not to wait until the world is more joyful. When the pandemic is finally over, other fears and threats will take its place. The answer is to seek joy—a sense of wellbeing that transcends circumstances—rather than happiness, which is based on happenings.
It is to make joy a choice rather than a circumstance.
Three Steps to Joy
First, identify the source of true joy. Jesus spoke of “my joy” which would be ours…
13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy.”John 17:13 NLT
The prophet Zephaniah assured us that our Lord “will rejoice over you with gladness”…
17 For the Lord your God is living among you.Zephaniah 3:17 NLT
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
King David testified, “In your presence there is fullness of joy”…
11 You will show me the way of life,Psalm 16:11 NLT
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Your God is a God of joy.
Second, settle for nothing less than the joy of the Lord. We can “rejoice in the Lord always” because the Lord is always the source of joy.
4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!Philippians 4:4 NLT
As his son, Craig Denison notes…
“We are not made to carry burdens that steal our joy and keep us from the abundant life Jesus died to give us.”Craig Denison
If you are not experiencing the joy of the Lord today, the fault is not His.
Third, submit to the Spirit who produces joy. Scripture commands us to be “filled” and controlled each day by the Holy Spirit…
18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.Ephesians 5:18-19 NLT
When we make this choice, one [part of the] “fruit of the Spirit” that results is “joy”…
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
If you have the joy of the Lord, it’s because you’re filled with his Spirit. If you do not have the joy of Jesus today, it’s because you’re not filled with his Spirit.
What is the Fruit of the Spirit?
It’s YOUR Choice!
If you want the joy of the Lord, you need the Lord in your heart!