The Wonder f Christmas - Joy
How has the path of your life been unfolding? As you have made your way through the many ups and downs that have brought you where you are today, the that last statement of the video is true!
“The journey was always leading you to Jesus.”
There is a wonder of joy waiting to be experienced when we realize the road we have been traveling intersects with the Saviour. The more difficult the journey, the greater the joy will be when we come to the realization that He really is the Lord of all and Saviour over all. He is worthy to be pursued and worthy of all we have to offer when we come into His presence.
The example of the Wisemen
The example of the Wisemen
The wise men ultimately found this to be true when they followed the star that led them to the promised Messiah. It was a dangerous, difficult, and arduous journey that cost them time and resources. Ultimately, it was worth it and allowed these men to come face to face with the newborn King of Kings. After day upon day of travel and searching and persistence, the star in the night sky guided them to the Saviour. They likely were overcome with emotion, reverence, awe, and abundant joy!
Their story is told in Matthew’s gospel.
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ” 7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” 9 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. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
A star that bright would have been seen by others living in that region. It likely would have been a remembered by many people as the wise men shared their story. They would talk of where they had been, how they travelled, and what ultimately led them to Jesus. They likely shared the good news of their encounter with the Christ child to all who would listen. They set out on their journey with a purpose and found it in this baby who had been foretold by the prophets of old.
Finding our saviour brings great joy
Finding our saviour brings great joy
While Jesus came from Heaven to earth on purpose, He did so with us in His mind’s eye and joy in His heart. We were created on purpose for a purpose. Part of that purpose is to experience the wonderful joy that a life-changing relationship with Jesus offers to all who put their faith, hope, and trust in Him for salvation. At just the right time on our journey through life, God does something to point us to the One whose birth we just celebrated: Jesus.
God has been waiting to connect with you and help you connect the dots in your life leading toward Jesus. Finding Jesus is not the end of life, but the beginning of our joy.
“Joy” is mentioned over 60 more times in the New Testament. Wherever we are on your journey through life, however difficult it may have been up until now, Jesus wants to give us the wonder of His joy.
Just as the wise men were led on their journey by a bright and shining star in the sky that moved them to the joy of finding Jesus, God uses different moments in life to help guide people to a place where they are meant to find joy in the Saviour of the world. God has a history of using different situations, people, and circumstances at just the right time to help us see how our “stars have aligned” in a way that leads to Jesus where we can have joy.
God has ways of helping to give the right direction in our path when we need it the most, that may be through thinking through what Christmas is all about, or perhaps through an individual helping to shine the light on the path towards God. While there may not be a literal shining light in the sky giving direction, often God uses people to help shine a spotlight on parts of our life and point the way to a new encounter with Jesus the Saviour.
King David of the Old Testament spoke how finding Jesus would bring joy. He is quoted in the NT at first sermon of the newly formed church. Acts 2.28 says, “You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence” The New King James Version. (1982). Thomas Nelson.
The early apostles saw people experience great joy at the time of salvation:
Acts 8:4–8 says,
4 Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. 5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. 6 And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was much joy in that city.
Paul and Barnabas saw this repeatedly. In Acts 13.52,
52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Christians had great joy in hearing that others had become believers!
The Apostle Paul even commands the Roman church to pursue joy after he established it as an essential in the Christian life:
17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
And to the church in Corinth he wrote:
3 And I wrote this very thing to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all.
The Apostle Paul lists joy as second among the fruit of the Spirit:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Joy is based in God
Joy is based in God
In all this, we sometimes wonder, “How?” Life can be hard, dangerous and an arduous journey.
C.S. Lewis once said, “God cannot give us joy and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
As I have said many times, Jesus came to show us how to understand God and live in a relationship with Him!
2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We too can find joy as we face what is ahead with endurance, as what can bring us and those around us closer to God.
Your journey, my journey, the journey of our family, friends, and even the people we meet can head many different ways. The Wisemen took a journey that lead to them being able to “rejoice exceedingly with great joy.” Why? Because they found Jesus. They found the King of Kings, the Saviour of the World. Yes, just as with the wisemen, worship helps, giving helps. However, joy is not an event or action, but an attitude and a fruit that we are given by the Holy Spirit.
1. Is Jesus where you look for Joy
2. Are we following Christ’s example of endurance that leads to joy?
3. New believers were described as joyful. Are we seeking to Help others find their joy in Jesus?