LET EARTH RECEIVE HER KING
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call himImmanuel (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23
What is the significance of God coming to us and being with us? In this very act we see God’s powerful and engaging love. God was not content to love us from a distance. He desires to be with us … to be involved in the details of our lives. We also see Jesus’ birth as an act of God initiating this loving relationship.
And this loving relationship is for everyone – let earth receive – it’s for the poor, rich, young, old, all genders, all ethnicities, all the earth! God wants to be with you, wherever you are.
Where does life have you right now? What circumstances do you find yourself facing? How do you view yourself? What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror?
Do you believe that God desires to be WITH YOU? Take time to invite and receive your King.
LET EVERY HEART PREPARE HIM ROOM
“All humanity’s problems stem from our inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Blaise Pascal (paraphrased)
There is so much noise surrounding the holidays fromNovember leading up to the new year.
The French philosopher, Blaise Pascal, would tell us that the busier we get with outward things (decorating, buying gifts, hosting parties, etc.) the more problems we create for ourselves. Pascal calls us to take time to sit quietly in solitude and pay attention to the interior world of our hearts.
Psalm 46:10 echoes this encouragement: “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Another version reads, “Cease striving …” In the midst of all that you have going on this year, I pray that you make time to prepare room in your heart for Jesus, our Savior and King.
Be still and meditate on Psalm 98, which is one of the passages that inspired Isaac Watts to write Joy to the World.
REPEAT THE SOUNDING JOY
Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I will say, Rejoice! Philippians 4:4
There’s a couple of ways to respond when you encounter joy.
One way is to act like so many of the antagonists we seeportrayed in our favorite Christmas movies. You can be a joy-killer.
One of the most popular Christmas characters is Ebenezer Scrooge, who tried to steal Christmas (and joy) from everyone around him, even those closest to him. Listen to the response Scrooge gave when his nephew announced that he was getting married because he had fallen in love:
“BECAUSE YOU FELL IN LOVE?!” GROWLED SCROOGE, “AS IF THAT WERE THE ONLY THING IN THE WORLD MORE RIDICULOUS THAN A MERRY CHRISTMAS.”
Whether it’s Scrooge, the Grinch, or Mr. Potter, whenever they encountered joy they actively tried to steal, kill, and destroy it. And it’s true that you and I have an enemy that the Apostle John refers to as a thief with the same mission to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus came that we might have abundant life (John 10:10)! Jesus also came to share his joy with us (John 15:11)!
Another way to respond to joy is to share it! Repeat the sounding joy! “For you, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands” (Psalm 92:4).
What about you? Are you a joy-killer or a joy-sharer? Some of us naturally share in others’ joy and invite others into our joy, but for others this takes some effort.What are some ways you can share joy? Be intentional, especially during this season, to invite others into the goodness of the joy of the Lord.
FAR AS THE CURSE IS FOUND
Sin touches every part of our world. Relationships, work, finances, health, emotions, and so many other things are broken or twisted because of the curse of sin.
Where has the curse of sin touched your life or family? Even though it’s painful to think about, take time to identify the brokenness in your world.
The Apostle Paul describes the believers in 2 Corinthians 6:10 as: “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing …”
The beautiful thing about true, biblical JOY is that you and I are able to experience it along with pain and sorrow. This is thecontext Jesus was born into, and it’s the human experience that we all share.
Real joy is found in “the good news of great joy” that the Lord has come! The King has come! No more will sorrow, pain, andtragedy have the last word. Forgiveness, salvation, and grace are theblessings that now flow as far as the curse is found, and beyond! And that can never be taken away from you. This is the joy from Jesus that resides in our hearts in the midst of sorrow.
I pray this year the joy of our King Jesus dwells in your hearts.
“IF OUR JOY IS HONEST JOY, IT MUST SOMEHOW BE CONGRUOUS WITH HUMAN TRAGEDY. THIS IS THE TEST OF JOY’S INTEGRITY: IS IT COMPATIBLE WITH PAIN?” LEWIS SMEDES
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