Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Joy!!

It is really a shame that instead of great joy at Christmas time we often observe anything but true joy. People are angry because they could not purchase the newest fad of the year, or people are complaining because they did not like what they received. There are families who are sad because of broken homes. Some homes have all the family members together, but all you hear is the grumbling and fighting because they do not know how to get along. Truth be told though, all too often the Joy of Jesus is left out of Christmas. We MUST keep our focus on the true meaning of Christmas and find great joy to praise our Lord who was willing to leave heavens glory and come to this earth to provide salvation to all those who will accept Him.

Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, God has been progressively revealing that a Messiah would come to deliver His people. Hebrews eleven lists numerous people who walked by faith trusting in God’s promises such as a deliverance from their enemies, a “promised Land”, and a Messiah who could provide it all. Then in v.13 we are told that “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” They never saw the promises fulfilled, but knew they would be. The believing remnant of Israel were waiting for the coming of their Messiah. This was the state of things right before Jesus’ birth.

Now think with me about the great joy experienced by some of the characters that we read about in the Christmas narrative. After the angel visited Zacharias in the temple and informed him that he would have a son who would be the forerunner of the Messiah, he broke out in a song (Luke 1:67-80) of exuberant praise. Listen to Luke 1:68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,” Mary also broke out in praise when informed that as a virgin she would have a child who would end up being the long awaited for Messiah. Note Mary’s response; Luke 1:46-47 “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”

The shepherds in the fields were surely not silent about the news of the arrival of their Savior. After visiting the baby Jesus, they departed “… glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” (Luke 2:20) Why not, the long awaited Messiah had come and they saw their redemption. And of course, we cannot forget about Simeon and Anna. Simeon was promised that he would not die until he saw the “Lord’s Christ.” He was in the temple when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to present Him unto the Lord as the 1st born. Observe Simeons response; Luke 2:28-30 “Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,” Then Anna walked in and saw Jesus and like the others we observed she could not remain unresponsive. Luke 2:38 “And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”

Let there be great joy seen in all of us who have accepted Christ as our personal savior this Christmas season. Praise God above for providing sinful man with the great light of the gospel. John 1:4 “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” There really is no reason for gloom and discouragement in God’s children. REJOICE the Savior has come!!

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