This Sunday marks the last Advent Sunday for 2018.
We started this Advent Season with the Advent of Hope.
We noted that Hope is not dependent on our current circumstances, but on trusting in a God Who loves us and has a perfect plan for our lives.
Two Sundays ago, we looked at the Advent of Peace.
One of the things we looked at in our study of the Advent of Peace is that if you have trusted Jesus as your Savior, you can have peace in the midst of the storms of life.
The key is to keep your focus on Jesus.
Storms are an inevitable part of life, but for the believer, they never go through those storms on their own.
God is with the believer each step of the way.
Last Sunday we discussed the Advent of Love.
In our discussion of the Advent of Love we looked at the reality that those that trust in Jesus are adopted into the family of God.
We also discussed that when God chose to adopt us, He didn’t make the choice based on anything about us that made us worthy.
He chose us when we were ruled by the ugliness of sin.
We ended with a challenge to allow the Love of God to flow through us each day, that lives would be transformed.
This morning we will look at that last Advent for 2018, the Advent of Joy.
2018 Christmas Advent-The Advent of Joy
As we begin our look at the Advent of Joy, let’s start by looking at the difference between happiness and joy.
We will begin this by looking a happiness.
Contrasting Joy & Happiness.
In looking at the history of the word happiness, you find the word is linked to circumstances.
In German the word luck and happiness are identical.
The key is this: Next Slides
Happiness is tied to good circumstances.
If the circumstances around us, our relationships, our job or school, the activities we do in our free time are good, we are happy, but: Next Slides
Happiness can disappear with one phone call, letter, conversation, grade or job review.....
Of course, if you think about it, you could easily add to that list.
So how is joy different from happiness?
While happiness is tied to circumstances, joy is a choice that is not tied to circumstances.
The anticipation of the celebration of Jesus 1st coming-Christmas day.
The anticipation of Jesus 2nd coming.
Joy is an emotion that’s acquired by the anticipation, acquisition or even the expectation of something great or wonderful.
While it is very likely all of us will experience Christmas Day, since it is the day after tomorrow.
There is a good chance that we will all be gone before His 2nd coming, when He returns to usher in His millennial reign.
We are not going to take the time to discuss the 2nd coming this morning, we will leave that for another time, but the point is this:
“Joy is an inner sense of well-being and satisfaction that endures through good times and bad, it abides through happy experiences and sad circumstances.
You see, joy is a gift that God gives us when we allow Him to be the Lord of our lives.”
Kyle Idleman The Christmas Experience
So, what is the point?
The point is this: Next Slides
So what is the point?
The point is this: Next Slides
Christian joy is not tied to circumstances.
Now that we have laid the groundwork for what joy is and isn’t, let’s now look at the
Areas of Joy in the Christmas Story
To begin with, turn in your Bible to Luke chapter 2. While I will show you some other passages this morning, this is where you can put your bookmark.
As you are turning, let me set the stage for you.
As someone who was literally raised in the church, my dad was the pastor and much of the time the church was literally less than 50 yards from our house.
As someone who was raised in the church, my tendency much of my life has been to look at the Christmas story as kind of a series of events that just sort of happened and when all was said and done everything ended up fitting together and provided for us what we now know as the Christmas story.
However, as I have looked at and studied all of the events of the Christmas story, I have come to realize that every detail of the Christmas story was planned by God, things didn’t just happen to work out, they worked out according to the perfect planning of a God Who is in complete control of everything.
As we go through some of the details this morning, I think many of you will come away with a since of awe at how God orchestrated all of the events in a very special way.
That, to me, is a huge part of the joy of Christmas.
Now let’s look at Luke chapter 2.
-Page 1090 in the Pew Bibles.
To begin with let’s look at: Next Slides
1. Joy in Fulfilled Prophesy.
We see this in verses 1-5 Next Slides
Both Joseph and Mary lived in the Town of Nazareth, yet the Old Testament prophesies were very clear that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, which is over 70 miles south of Nazareth.
It wasn’t like they could jump in their comfy car and 2 1/2 hours later be in Bethlehem.
On top of that, we don’t know that either Joseph or Mary knew of the prophecy.
So, the God, Who is in complete control, moves the mind of the Roman Ruler, Caesar Augustus, to decree a census to be taken.
Now in those days they didn’t send out crews of people to count each household.
No, they required each household to go to the place of their lineage to be counted.
Joseph, who was a part of the Tribe of Judah and specifically was a direct descendant of King David, was required to go to the Town of David, otherwise known as Bethlehem.
And there you see Joy in Fulfilled Prophecy.
That brings us to the next joy we will look at this morning.
Now before we look at that, if you don’t mind, I’d like to use my imagination for a moment and put myself in the place of God.
Now if I am God, and I am sending my only Son into the World, when I choose the individuals, I am going to announce His birth to, well I am choosing Kings, maybe the High Priest or some other great Spiritual Leader, but Scripture tells us in many passages that God does things differently than we do.
So, who does God choose?
Well that brings us to the next Area of Joy in the Christmas Story: Next Slides
2. Joy In The Recipients Of The Message.
God chooses shepherds.
What a curious choice?
I mean most shepherds were on the low end of the totem pole in many ways, and these shepherds worked the night shift!
Not exactly a lofty position.
Yet of all the choices He had as recipients of this the most important of messages, He chose shepherds.
Have you ever wondered why?
I’d like to give you 2 reasons why, I’m sure there may be several others, but I think these 2 give us a vivid picture of the reality of what the future held for Jesus.
We see the first reason in :
2 Reason why God chose shepherds:
The 1st reason is that : Next Slides
The 1st reason is that :
Jesus was the Good Shepherd.
We see this in Next Slide
We also see this in Next Slide
Shepherds had a unique relationship with their sheep.
They lived with the sheep, walked with the sheep, talked with the sheep, slept out in the elements with the sheep.
They continually put themselves in harm’s way to protect the sheep and were willing to lay down their life, if need be to save the sheep.
When all was said and done, that was exactly what Jesus did.