The fulfillment of the long-awaited promise of the coming Messiah was revealed in Jesus Christ when He was born in Bethlehem. Joy came into the world that night!
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for 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. And this will be the sign to you: you will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And 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!” So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the Babe lying in a manger. Luke 2:8 – 16 (NKJV)
Why was this a joyful occasion for the world? Throughout the Old Testament scriptures, the prophets proclaimed His coming; then, God was silent for over 400 years. But God kept His promise and sent His Son Jesus at the appointed time. God had a plan of redemption to restore our fellowship with Him.
“Therefore, the LORD Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace, there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:6, 7 (NKJV)
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father, David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom, there will be no end.” Luke 1:30 – 33 (NKJV)
Immanuel means “God with us.” God the Father sent His Son Jesus to earth to represent Him because Jesus is just like Him. Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). He came to reveal God’s nature (i.e., love, mercy, goodness, righteousness, kindness, etc.), His love for us, and to restore our relationship with Him.
The joy of Christmas is for everyone because a Savior was born for all people (Luke 2:8-20)! The importance of Christmas is not so much in His birth as it is in the reason that He came. There are many reasons He came, for example, to reveal the Father and His love (1 John 4:9), to teach us how to live and to show us the Way and the Truth (John 14:6), to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17), to restore us to God (2 Corinthians 5:18), to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), and to bring the kingdom of God into the earth (Mark 1:15; Luke 4:43), i.e., to preach the good news of the gospel, to heal the sick, cast out demons, etc.
However, there is another reason He came. He came to save us (Matthew 1:21; John 3:17; Luke 19:10). He was born to die. Salvation came through His shed blood and death on the cross as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity. The birth of Christ was just the first step in the redemptive plan God had for the world.
Our joy is fulfilled in Jesus because He is the source of it. We can know God personally and experience permanent joy because of Jesus! As a believer in Christ, we can have this joy because Jesus came to be God with us and now dwells in us as our Lord and Savior (Ephesians 3:17; John 14:23; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Galatians 2:20). Fulfillment of joy only comes from knowing Him (Isaiah 51:11).
Joy comes through salvation! Jesus means “Savior, Salvation.” He is Salvation (Acts 4:13; Isaiah 12:2). When we receive Jesus as Savior, we get Him and everything He is and accomplished on the cross: rescue, safety, preservation, freedom, liberty, peace, righteousness, victory, deliverance, forgiveness, protection, health, prosperity. We are pardoned, re-created, healed, restored, and made strong, whole, and sound: mentally, physically, materially, and spiritually. His name comes from the Hebrew word Yeshua from which we get the English name, Joshua. Jesus came to save us from our sins and bring salvation (Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:30).
If you haven’t yet experienced the joy of salvation, I would like to give you this opportunity to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you would like to experience the love of God and to have peace with Him through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, pray this suggested prayer out loud right now. You can also pray in your own words. Remember, it is not words or prayer alone that will save you. Prayer is a way to reach out to the Lord and must be done in faith (completely trusting in Him to save you). Christ will save you if you pray these or similar words in faith.
Prayer to Receive Jesus as Savior
Your Word says that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. I ask You to forgive me for my sins. I want to turn from them and turn to You. I am calling on You and ask Jesus to come into my heart and be Lord over my life. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for me. I believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead, and He is alive today. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me the Holy Spirit to live inside of me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and Your healing power in my life. I now belong to You. Help me to live for You and obey You all the days of my life.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.
That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:7 – 9 (NKJV)
But I have trusted in your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. Psalm 13:5 (NKJV)
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10 (NKJV)
How do we experience and live in the fullness of joy? The Word tells us how to be joyful. Philippians 4:8 tells us how as well as through praise and worship of Him. What we think or meditate on will affect our feelings and our behavior. Are you going to be a negative thinker or a kingdom thinker? The fullness of joy is realized in His presence as we worship Him.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations. Psalm 100:1 – 5 (NKJV)
You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)
“To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3 (NKJV)
“I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me, you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you, abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:5 – 11 (NKJV)
“Until now, you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive that your joy may be full. John 16:24 (NKJV)
Walking in His love brings joy. We can even rejoice in our pain and sufferings because our Savior can sympathize with us (Hebrews 4:15, 16). He knows how it feels. Ask the Lord to see His perspective in your trials and to see the joy set before you even as Jesus did (Hebrews 12:2, James 1:2 – 4, 1 Peter 1:6 – 9). We don’t rejoice for the trials, but as we go through them, knowing that God works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).
We have an opportunity to see how big our God is as we trust Him to bring His promises to pass as we believe what He has told us. Even as the children of Israel had to wait for God’s appointed time, God uses this time of waiting to prepare us for the plans and promises He has for us as well. He is working behind the scenes. He is our strong tower and deliverer (Psalm 18:2; 61:3). The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10)!
Philippians 4:4 says to rejoice in the Lord always! The Holy Spirit can help us do that because joy is already inside us as the fruit of the Holy Spirit, the very nature of God (Galatians 5:22, 23). Joy belongs to us. When we live in His presence, we can experience His joy and peace at all times. Worship should be a lifestyle, not just when gathering at church on Sundays.
Walking in the Spirit keeps us in His presence. When we aren’t joyful, we have found our way out of His presence (Psalm 16:11), e.g., discouraged, depressed, angry, etc. We have lost sight of who He is and what He has done for us through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Joy doesn’t come from things that we have or what He has given to us. Bill Johnson, the Senior Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding California, reminds us that we live in joy because the cries of our hearts are satisfied. Joy is the prosperity of the soul. We don’t turn our affection to the things we receive, but the King and His kingdom (Matthew 6:33). He supplies provision, breakthrough, etc., out of who He is. We are not to worship these things above Him. What we receive testifies of who He is and enhances our relationship with Him. These are physical reminders of what He is like, and therefore, we praise and worship Him.
So, this Christmas season spread the good news. For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men (Titus 2:11). Joy to the world the Lord has come! Have you prepared your heart to receive Him?
Christmas Blessings to you and your family!