“You believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” 1 Peter 1:8 NIV.
Great joy is unknown wherever the Good News remains untold.
My thoughts and comments today are about “Christmas joy.”
“Merry Christmas!” is an all too familiar greeting, but “merry,” seems a bit underwhelming when describing the history changing birth of Jesus. Merriment is a good thing that comes from enjoying good times and good friends. But Christmas is so much more. And God has more for you, much more. I believe, “Joyous Christmas,” is more appropriate for God’s intent for this season and year round.
This Advent, open your heart and home to be overwhelmed by, “an inexpressible and glorious joy.” That’s how Peter chose to describe Jesus’ presence permeating your heart and daily life. “You believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” 1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV. Your experience and expression of the Savior’s birth, life, and sacrifice promises no less, deserves no less than great and glorious joy.
That auspicious Christmas night, the Angel’s’ announcement to the shepherds described the moment, “Behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. For today, there has been born a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” At such news, Heaven could be silent no longer; “Suddenly, there appeared a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased.” Luke 2:10-14 NAS. Indeed, the Incarnation was “good news of great joy.”
But such joy did not begin with the first Christmas, nor does such abandoned joy end there. Christmas simply dramatized the eternal intent of the Father for all His creation to know glorious joy – at all times. Christmas’ celebration underscores the essence of your experience of His inexpressible joy every day. “In His presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11. That glorious joy will also flood your heart as you stand before God, “Who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” Jude 24-25.
However intended for you His joy may be, great joy is not automatic. Joy is a gift God chose to give; joy is a choice you make to receive. Advent invites you to choose inexpressible and glorious joy. Nurture joy in your heart because it is not natural to your fallen nature. Mature joy in your life until it becomes a more settled disposition of your spirit, as you continually draw on unfailing, spiritual resources. Jesus said, “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you . . My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” John 15:7/11 NIV. You have His joy completely; express His joy consistently.
You can’t share something you don’t have, and you can’t keep something you won’t share. When you give joy, you gain joy. Christmas isn’t really Christmas until you share your joy, and His joy, with others. Inexpressible joy should not be left unexpressed. Great joy is unknown wherever the Good News remains untold. This Advent, share the joy of Christmas every day, to every person, in every imaginable way. Celebrate without apology and with abandon. Invite, include, involve, welcome, laugh, love, express life, be real, and celebrate joyously.
Incarnate the joy of the message an unbelieving world cannot resist. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Rom 15:13 NIV. Hope, joy, and peace – my prayer and God’s Christmas gifts for you.
Today, my prayer for you this Advent is that His joy is real in you and irresistible to others.