An angel broke through the night sky in the fields near Bethlehem and announced joyous news!
This amazing night was the beginning of joy because joy has a name and it's Jesus and He was born in a manger in that Bethlehem stable. And not only was joy now possible but great joy is within your reach!
Joy began with a birth. There are few experiences in life that bring as much joy as the birth of a baby! But this birth was like one never seen before or since that glorious night because that baby boy was like no other baby ever born! Joy has a name and it is Jesus!
Do you have joy this morning?
A stable isn't a place you would normally bring a child into the world, let alone the Son of God! How could that be considered a joyous birth?
It's important to understand the nature of this joy the angels foretold.
Joy is what happens when Jesus is your Lord!
But contrary to what one of my favorite Christmas carols declares, Jesus was not "Lord at His birth". Jesus did not become Lord when they put on the swaddling cloths He became Lord when He threw off the grave cloths!
Sure, His Lordship began in a crib in a stable but it also required a cross and then a crypt. He was born to be the Lord but He had to die a brutal death on the cross and be raised from the dead to become Lord over sin and death.
And, for you to have Him become your Lord and for you to know His joy it requires a crib, a cross and a crypt for you!
The crib experience happens when you confess your sins, repent of your sinfulness and ask Jesus to be born into your heart by faith!
Have you experienced the new birth?
The crib experience must lead to a cross experience. Once God's will becomes active in your life your will must die to His will. That is the cross experience, dying to self and to your selfish nature.
When you die to your sinful self His Spirit can fill you with His Spirit - the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead!
How will you know that you have had a crib experience and a cross experience and a crypt experience? You will know because you will have His joy operating in your life!