Christmas is a problem for us Preachers. Let me explain. Every Christmas, we have to preach on the Christmas Story.
In the first place most people know the Christmas story or rather I should say most people think they know the Christmas Story.This year I find myself giving five Christmas messages over 8 days. What can I possibly say that you don't know, or you haven’t already heard before? Let’s look again and see if I we find something new to celebrate in this familiar story. Let's see if we can find something to be newly joyful about today.
Let’s look and see who was there at the very beginning of the story. We know Joseph and Mary were there, but there were also some shepherds. (Luke 2:9-11) Joseph and must have been exhausted, they had just travelled at least 80 miles to get to Bethlehem. Now they arrive at their journeys end, and it is reasonable to say they would have been absolutely exhausted. We can also confidently say they were exhausted and delighted, because this bundle of joy had arrived. In amongst the tiredness and the stress of finding a place to stay they would finally be experiencing a real sense of joy.
The arrival of a new healthy baby is nearly always a joyful experience. In this case we know there is a double reason to be joyful, because Mary has not only safely given birth to a child, but she knows who that child was. This child was Jesus, Emmanuel, God among humankind. She knew this because these events were revealed to here by an angel nine months previously when we are told she accepted the news with, “joy in her heart. We too, when we truly understand who Jesus is should have a real sense of joy in our hearts.
It’s a good time of year to think of gifts, but this gift is one that is given for free. You don't have to do anything to take hold of it. You don't have to do anything to keep hold of it and you certainly don't have to do anything to keep earning it, because this Child, in the Manger did it all. Because this child came on earth to save the people from their sins. If your able to say honestly to yourself, I believe this story of God sending a saviour, and what I need is a saviour. Then that changes everything. The minute, the very minute you truly recognise that the child in the manger is a saviour, your saviour. Then that very second, you are right with God. That very moment you are fit for heaven and ready for eternity. This is declared to be a message of not just joy but, but it should cause, great joy. Not just for the shepherds that day on a hillside but for everyone who has been told about this saviour.
So, there is Joseph and Mary and there is joy because they knew they have had a new-born baby. A baby who would be the saviour who came to forgive sins. There were also shepherds and we are told they had great joy because they were also saved from the mess that sin might have caused in their life. Then there are wise men also called before an earthly king and then sent out to find the new-born king (Matthew 2: 7-10) I submit to you that when you discover Jesus joy is always present. Joy, great joy, and exceedingly great joy. The Apostle called John writes about this for us in his first letter.; (1 John 1: 3-4)
There is a joy in simply knowing that your sins are forgiven by trusting in Jesus Christ.
There is a great joy in seeing and experiencing the lord working in your life.
There is exceeding great joy when you experience having fellowship with him directly.
This restored fellowship with the father through the son means that our joy indeed might be made complete.
Do you have joy, this Christmas? Do you have the great joy of knowing you can know peace because you know that God is working out his plans and purposes in your life no matter how tough it seems at times? Do you have exceeding great joy by being able to trust the Lord even in the midst of fear or failure? Do you know that your joy might be complete as you are carried though the valley of the shadow of death itself?
I have an invitation for you this morning it’s not an invitation to go to a Christmas party but an invitation to go on a New Year journey. However, this is a journey where Christ will be present with you. Take the 1st step on that journey this morning and find joy this Christmas. If your already on that journey find great joy by handing over your fears and problems to Him. Furthermore, emember you can also have exceeding great joy by trusting him to make you right with God, not just for this journey of life but for eternity. Then one day your joy might be complete, when you see him again.
I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. More than that I wish you all a Christmas full of joy, great joy, and exceeding great joy….
Joy, Great Joy and Exceeding Great Joy
Topics: Advent and Christmas