Open the Gift of Joy

By John Risner

December 25, 2017

Perhaps this Christmas doesn’t seem like a joyful time for you. Some seasons of life just don’t feel joyful.

Joy is a gift from God. In Luke 2 the angels announced the birth of Jesus, a hero-baby, born to rescue his people! “The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.’” (Luke 2:10).

The word for joy (chara) is related to the Greek word for grace or gift (charis). Joy comes when we are aware of God’s grace. Joy itself is a gift of God. The prophet Nehemiah said in Nehemiah 8:10, “the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

The truth is, even the most spiritually mature of God’s people can experience periods of joylessness.

  • Job wished he had never been born. (Job 3:11)

  • David prayed to be taken to a place where he would not have to deal with reality. (Psalm 55:6)

  • Elijah, fresh from seeing the 450 prophets of Baal defeated, fled into the desert and asked God to take his life. (1 Kings 19:4)

  • Jonah wanted to die rather than see God forgive the Ninevites. (Jonah 4:3)

If these great men of God struggled to find joy, how can we find joy in every season of life? For us to experience the joy of the Lord, our focus needs to be on God. Instead of dwelling in our difficulties, or allowing circumstances and situations to rob us of our joy, we must focus on God. Joy is not feeling happy all the time, it is the state of mind that comes from knowing God, abiding in Christ, and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

I am not saying that we ought to deny our feelings or try to suppress our emotions, but we are to submit our circumstances, our situations, and our problems to the God who cares for us. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.”

Open the gift of joy by binging your sorrows and disappointments to the Lord. In Jeremiah 31:13, God says, “I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.”

Joy to the world, the Lord is come.

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