Advent - Week 4 - Joy

December 24, 2023
Fourth Sunday of Advent
But the angel reassured them, “Don’t be afraid!” he said.
“I bring you good news of great joy for everyone!
The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been
born tonight in Bethlehem the city of David!”
(Luke 2:10-11, NLT)

Christmas is a party!  Specifically, it’s a birthday party for Jesus – and birthdays are meant to be celebrated.  It’s ironic that at many Christmas parties, the Person whose birthday we’re supposed to be celebrating is completely ignored and never mentioned.  But the very purpose of Christmas is joyful celebration!  We learn this from the angel’s opening statement to the shepherds of Bethlehem when he proclaimed, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people!” (Luke 2:10)

The good news of Christmas joy is worth experiencing and celebrating for three reasons:  It’s personal (“I bring YOU”), it’s positive (“GOOD” news of great joy”), and it’s universal (“for EVERYONE”).  It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, where you’ve been, or where you’re headed – this news is for you.

The joyous news of Christmas is not that man has approached God but that God has approached us.  The joyous news of Christmas is the certainty that Christ was born among us and will return one day to gather us together with Him for all eternity.  The joyous news of Christmas is not seasonal or situational but a spontaneous, authentic response to what God has already done and continues to do.  The joyous news of Christmas is worthy of a celebration; a celebration that God has given us His greatest gift, Jesus the Redeemer!

The greatest gift we have this Advent season is not found under a tree but was nailed to a tree. He has become our Emmanuel -- God with us, and in our lives.  The glorious gift of “God in us” is the gift we will enjoy for all eternity.  That truth is certainly worthy of joyful celebration!  Merry Christmas!

LORD, let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy!  Teach us to pray with joy.  Help us to daily trust in You and rejoice in Your goodness as we seek to share with others Your gift of love that has transformed our lives.  May we always be filled with Your unspeakable, inexpressible, and glorious joy!  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Week 4 Daily Reading:
Mon:    John 15:11
Tue:     1 Pet. 1:8
Wed:   Isa. 55:12
Thu:     Phil. 4:4
Fri:       Psa. 100:1-2
Sat:      Luke 1:46-56
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