Before your keep reading, take a second, close your eyes and think about a time in your life, either recently, or in the past, when you experienced joy at Christmas. Joy is one of those words that seems to always rise in popularity around the Christmas season. It seems like every Christmas card I get has the word joy written somewhere on it. Many of our favorite Christmas carols contain the word joy. "Joy to the world"....."O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant"....."joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies"....."and the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strains".....just to name a few.
What an amazing gift joy can be. When it's present, our lives are richer, and when it's absent there's an emptiness in our souls. As simple as joy sounds, it really is a complex subject and in some ways, hard to define. But once you've experienced it, once you've tasted joy in your life, there's a longing in your heart to want to know and experience it again and again.
Over next 10 days, as we prepare for Christmas, I want you to think about and try to answer for yourself, three questions about joy: Where does joy come from? How do you get joy? And what are we supposed to do with joy when it comes our way?
To help you get started, I want to share with you one key point for each question.
1. Where does joy come from? Jesus answered this question in John 15:11, when he said, "These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." Jesus, whose birth we will celebrate in just over a week is the source of joy.
2. How do we get joy? In his autobiography, C.S. Lewis said that his search for God really began as a search for joy. And in his search for joy, he discovered God, who is the source of joy. God has given us the freedom to choose whether or not we want to follow him, which if C.S. Lewis is correct in saying that God is the source of joy, then our joy comes when we choose to follow God. Wherever you find yourself this Christmas, choose God and allow his son, Jesus to fill your life with joy.
3. What do we do with joy? Building on our answers to the first two questions, if God and his son Jesus are the source of joy, then our response to joy should be to share it. The Bible says that joy isn't something you're supposed to keep to yourself. Rather, it's something you should express, just like the shepherds did on that first Christmas. After seeing Jesus they immediately shared what the angels had told them about this child and then they returned to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.
Will you be filled with joy this Christmas? Biblical joy comes from the presence of Jesus Christ in your life and it's a choice to be embraced and it's a gift to share with others.
Come Sunday and be ready to "repeat the sounding joy"!