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Joy and Rejoicing

December 2nd, 2013

“I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” Luke 2:10 NKJV.

Joy releases rejoicing, and rejoicing increases joy.

My thoughts and comments today are about “joy and rejoicing.”

For many years, our congregational welcome of the Christmas season has been with exuberant joy, expressing that joy with the Christmas hymn, “Joy to the World; the Lord is come; let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room; and Heaven and nature sing.” It is my conviction that the entrance to all the other good things associated with Christmas rests in your personal discovery of the true joy the celebration of His birth can bring into hearts and lives. In fact, any Godly observance of the season that does not begin with and continue in unrestrained rejoicing is inadequate and unworthy of the One we celebrate. Peter describes such joy as being, “filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” See 1 Peter 1:3-9 NIV.

An Angel of the Lord announced Jesus’ birth to shepherds, saying, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” The joy God brings is qualified as excelling; it’s “great joy!” At such news, Heaven joy could not be sparing, “Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.’” Read Luke 2:8-14 NKJV.

Christmas as a holiday has become many things that it needs not be but one thing Christmas, as the birth of the Savior, absolutely must be is to be celebrated with joy and rejoicing, both exuberant and unrestrained. Joy is your choice; rejoicing is your personal expression of joy. Joy abides within every redeemed person, sovereignly placed there by God. The Bible is clear; included among the other attributes the Spirit of God imparts is: “The fruit of the Spirit is . . joy.” Galatians 5:22 NKJV.

Rejoicing is an outwardly visible expression of joy which may become impacted by outward circumstances, but joy, God given and resident in one’s heart and spirit, is untouched by circumstance. Paul describes such a moment, “The grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.” 2 Corinthians 8:2 NKJV.

Peter affirms the same truth, “Do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice . . [that] you may be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 NKJV. Don’t be deceived by your feelings or current circumstances. The emotions of pain and disappointment may seem to lessen or eliminate joy. If God is in you, His joy is in you as well. “For the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 NIV.

Here is a truth about joy and rejoicing. Joy is the original initiative of God; rejoicing is always at your initiative. Joy releases rejoicing, and rejoicing increases joy. Rejoicing, like faith or the giving of thanks, is an act of a sanctified will, independent of emotions or situation. This is the way that works. The greater your joy, the greater your rejoicing. Likewise, the greater your rejoicing, the greater your joy becomes. God gave you the power to renew or release joy anew.

My prayer for you today is that your joy is fully evidenced in your rejoicing.

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