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The JOY of Christmas

I have to confess one of my favorite moments in our worship services is something that no one but me gets to see.

All advent, we are inviting all our kids to come forward to watch the advent candle lighting up close. From my unique vantage point, I get to see their faces and watch their eyes completely dialed into this simple tradition and great object lesson of the advent season. Let me say as both a pastor and a dad, it is awesome.

This week's advent candle is lit for Joy, and one of the most wonderful, simple writings on Joy is in a book called "Diamond Marriage: Have Ultimate Purpose in Your Marriage" by Simon Vibert. Vibert says,

  1. Joy comes from an appreciation that the believer is accepted in Christ and loved. Indeed we should be awestruck by the amazing love and grace that has been lavished on us by the Father in sending the Son (Rom. 8:32, 38ff.).
  2. It has well been said that happiness comes from circumstances, but joy comes from the knowledge of our relationship with the Lord. Consequently even imprisoned and possibly near martyrdom, Paul can instruct believers to rejoice in the Lord always (hence Phil. 4:11ff.). Our joy is found in knowing the truth of Romans 8:28, that generally God does not make us happy by removing our circumstances, but rather he gives us joy in our circumstances, knowing that he is using them to mould us into the image of Jesus. His good purposes spoken of in this verse includes a life of conformity to his will.
  3. ...Joy comes from realizing that we are saved for an eternity with God in whom is fullness of joy forever more.

What a great truth that we will rejoice in this Sunday. I pray this Advent season is full of joy for you and your loved ones.

-Jim

Scripture for this week's message: "Characters of Christmas"
Joseph: Matthew 1:18-24 and Luke 2:1-7; 21-39

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