Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 23, 2010

"But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people." Luke 2:10
Christmas is supposed to be a season of joy. In this series of posts I am taking a closer look at this topic of joy. What is it and where does it come from?
Joy comes from God's presence. Christmas is when God came to us in the person of Christ.
Also, joy comes from God's pardon.
Jesus came to be our Savior. Savior from what? He saved us from the penalty of sin. As sinners we were spiritually dead and destined for eternal death. But Jesus, because He was without sin, took our sins upon Himself. He died for you and me.
Because He took our penalty, we can be pardoned.
It would be the equivalent of you receiving a death sentence because of a heinous crime you committed. You are arrested and tried and found guilty by a jury - because you ARE guilty. When you appear before the judge he sentences you to death and you are taken to death row. You remain there for several years until the time comes for your sentence to be carried out and you hear footsteps coming down the long hallway toward your isolated cell. Your heart quickens, a big lump develops in your throat and there is a sinking feeling in your stomach. "This is it!", you think to yourself. But, the guard opens the door and announces, "You are free to go!"
"What?", you reply.
"You are free to go. Report to the Warden and he will make sure you get your belongings."
"The Warden's son volunteered to take your death sentence. He will die tonight in you place! Since he has taken your sentence you are free!"
As the news begins to sink into your consciousness, you feel a great sense of relief and then slowly a joy arises in you as you realize you are free! You will get to grow old! You will get to see your children grow up! You will live out your days in freedom because someone's son died in your place!
That is the pardon you receive in Jesus when you put your faith in Him. And that is why Jesus came at Christmas. He came to pay the penalty for your sins so you can be pardoned!
Joy results from God's presence and joy arises from His pardon. Christmas is where it all began!

December 22, 2010

"for behold, I bring you good news of great joy......" Luke 2:10

Like you, I have had good news and I have had bad news and good news is definitely better! But, not all good news brings great joy. The news about Christmas did! Why?
I want to examine this "joy thing" over the next few posts and perhaps you can gain a better understanding of what theangel was talking about and why you don't experience more of it.
How does that sound?
As meditated on this question, "What was it about Christmas that brought joy?" I came up with a number of answers that worked for me. We will see if they matter to you.
The first source of joy in the Christmas story is God's Presence!
God's greatest present was His presence! Jesus was "the Word that became flesh" to dwell among us! Jesus was "Immanuel", " God with us!
For centuries only the High Priest could enter presence of God and only on special occasions. But now, because of Jesus, God would realize His greatest desire and your deepest need could be met! He could dwell in you and you can live in His presence! Since that is exactly what you were created for, that brings joy!
Will you know the joy of His presence today? Will you enter in? Will you welcome Him into your spirit? Will you fellowship with Him by faith? Will you walk with Him in obedience? Will you commune with Him through prayer? Will you encounter Him in the Word? Will you partner with Him in service?
You will never know joy apart from the presence of God. And the good news of great joy is that Jesus has come to dwell in you!