Friday, December 9, 2016

Joy to the World

What makes us all so much more joyful this time of year than any other time? Could it be that the angel's message to the shepherds holds true today? "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of GREAT JOY!" The good news. Christ is that good news that no matter how dismal everything around us might be..,,there is always GOOD NEWS of great joy that can change everything for us.

Yesterday was my girl's birthday and it was packed full of JOY! After a precious time of birthday celebration and gift-giving -- which of itself was full of joy because of our Lexi. She had a huge, heavy bag and said as she gave it to her mother....."I know it looks like Easter threw up on it! (Meaning the colored flowers and tissue which she found that could hold all her treasures.) Staci pulled out a stuffed bunny and Israel flags and kleenexes because she knew us -- that before the day was over, we'd be crying tears of joy. Lexi said, "I needed to add a few things to weight it down." And she had other items of her own as well as a couple of things she had borrowed from her mother, and used this birthday opportunity to return them all wrapped up. She actually did have some really great real gift items at the bottom of her "Easter" bag, but the journey getting to them was, to say the least, tear-making hilarious. Yes, we were joy-filled!

We girls saw where Elevate Life Church had posted on Instagram "FREE Women's t-shirts for women who came into their bookstore and said the word "JOY". In our usual style and form, we went in singing "Joy to the World"! No, we just don't roll with a simple "JOY" -- it's gotta' be "Good tidings of GREAT JOY!

Later, we went to Cracker Barrel for lunch and, lo and behold, a youth choir from LoveJOY, Texas came in and seranaded the dinner guests with "Joy to the World" and other carols. Of course, we thought it was just for us, but since there were other customers there with us, we let them enjoy themselves as well. ;-)

Back to my first paragraph here in today's post. Great joy!! What is that joy that the angel was talking about? Let’s seriously consider that Christmas night over 2,000 years ago. It was pre-electricity era – can you imagine the terror the shepherds experienced when the dark skies became brilliant as the angel appeared to them? But the angel gave them solace when he said, "Do not be afraid. I bring you GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY that will be for all the people."(Luke 2:10). Those terrifying moments were replaced with good news and great joy. The first words the angel spoke were words of comfort and words of command: "Do not be afraid."

“The Bible tells us in Psalm 16:11 that ‘In His presence is fullness of joy.’ If we want joy in our life, we need to revisit the Nativity scene and realize that's where God's presence was experienced in the form of that tiny baby boy. And, I'm here to tell you today, He is now a grown-up boy -- a King -- that, daily, we can experience His presence and know that GREAT JOY! We can experience it at a birthday party or a busy restaurant. We can experience it when facing a crisis or a disappointment. Joy isn't the same as happiness. Happiness is based on those ooey, gooey feelings when everything is going right. But JOY is based on the CONSTANT of He Who lives big within us. He is that GOOD NEWS of GREAT JOY and when we sing those words "Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room......" That's the key....preparing room for Him inside to be the joy-giver, and peace-maker

Sincerely, God wants us to GET IT – about why He sent His Son Jesus -- the good tidings of great joy which is for all people. “Behold, I bring you good news of great joy!” I give you Jesus.