Merry Christmas to all my faithful readers! “Angels we have heard on high Sweetly singing over the plains And the mountains in reply, Echoing their joyous strains...” (Angels We Have Heard On High, French carol, ca. 1862)
“God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, Let nothing you dismay; Remember Christ, our Saviour, Was born on Christmas day, To save us all from Satan's power When we were gone astray. O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy, O tidings of comfort and joy.” (God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen)
“Hark! the herald angels sing “Glory to the newborn King Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” Joyful, all ye nations rise; Join the triumph of the skies; With angelic host proclaim“Christ is born in Bethlehem!” Hark! the herald angels sing “Glory to the newborn King!”” “It came upon the midnight clear, That glorious song of old, From angels bending near the earth With news of joy foretold, “Peace on the earth, good will to men From heaven's all gracious King.” The world in solemn stillness lay, To hear the angels sing.” (It Came Upon The Midnight Clear, Edmund H. Sears(1810-1876), 1849) “Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King Let every heart Prepare Him room And Saints and angels sing And Saints and angels sing And Saints and Saints and angels sing.” (Joy To The World, Isaac Watts, 1674-1748) “O come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem; Come and behold Him Born the King of angels; O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.” (O Come, All Ye Faithful, Attributed to John Francis Wade, ca. 1711-1786)
I was listening to a few of my favorite Christmas carols this season and I started hearing the same word said over and over: Joy. The local radio station has been getting its listeners to say their “Joy Pledge” to choose joy this holiday season. But what is joy?
Webster’s Dictionary defines Joy as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires:” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/joy). The Bible has this to say about joy: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4 NASB) Wait a minute! So joy can come from suffering?
Consider this: a former pastor of mine explained joy this way: Jesus, Others, Yourself. JOY. So having faith in Jesus and putting Him first, others second, and yourself last, produces joy. How is that possible? Where does joy truly come from?
“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (James 15:11 NASB) Joy comes from Jesus, and keeping our focus on Him this Christmas, and every day, produces joy in our hearts.
So the question is, will you choose joy?