Joy to the World?

This Sunday I’ll be preaching on this beloved Christmas hymn…it certainly is a song that blesses us as we gratefully sing it out!

If we’re honest though, we probably might cynically be thinking, “Joy to the world? How about joy to just my neighborhood? Or maybe just joy to my miserable aunt? Or to Giants fans? The world? Isn’t that a rather tall order? I mean, look around, there seems to be more strife and misery than joy!"

That really is the whole point. John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whosoever believes..." That means that the offer of beauty, forgiveness and yes, joy, is to the entire human race! The “whosoever“ of that verse means anyone, anywhere, in any circumstance may come to him. And in that process, find Joy!

Sadly, there’s not a whole lot of this joy thing nowadays. There seems to be a lot of self absorption and as always a preoccupation with the things of this world. Those things do not ever lead us to joy. Where is your joy this Christmas? Are you looking for it in your spouse, your circumstances, your finances, your family? All of those things can bring us happiness for a time, but do not confuse happiness with joy. They are related somewhat, but also totally different animals! I’m happy when my car starts, when my team wins, when the sun is shining, when Pastor Rob actually tells a funny joke. But Joy? That is something that runs deep, that is God related, and not easily thwarted. Joy is part of the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22). It is a gift from God! When Christ came into this world, he came with an offer of forgiveness, meaning, hope, and yes, joy! His is a joy that can be found nowhere else and he wants that for you and me! May this Christmas be absolutely filled with joy as you and I rest in and worship our Savior!

Jesus has come to redeem us, to set our hearts free, to obliterate our sin, to prepare our place in heaven and to let us live with a deep and abiding Joy!

Pete Nelson