A Gift of Joy
The Gift that Brings Joy was our message this morning from Pastor Joey. Joy…what is it? Merriam Webster defines joy as a feeling of great pleasure or happiness that comes from good fortune, success, or well-being; or by the prospect of possessing what one desires; the expression of such emotion; a state of happiness or felicity; the source or cause of delight. For our message this morning, I think the latter definition would be the best for our purposes: the source or cause of delight. As a child did you ever have a gift that you longed for, expecting magical things from it, and it disappointed? Or how about a gift from someone that just wasn’t what you wanted, like socks and other things from Grandma? Yeah, BIG letdown. We are looking today at the gift of Jesus. To understand joy, we have to experience hopelessness. This has gone on throughout history. Look at the Children of Israel. We even experience this today. Parents try to forewarn their children not to repeat their past mistakes, but to learn from their wisdom, but as we know, it doesn’t always go that way. God even forewarned His children to follow His will and directions, but they too did not listen. Today we look at the gift of Jesus presented in Luke 2:8-20. We see the angel as he appears to the shepherds, sitting on a hill out in the fields. The angel appears and tells them he has news of great joy. Not just your average news, but great news; world changing news in fact. The shepherds were told where to find the new baby, the king. Next a multitude of angels appears, praising God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest; peace on Earth to men, with whom He is well pleased.” Understand the importance of this: scripture tells us the shepherds quickly pack up and go to see the baby that not only had been foretold by Isaiah, but whom the angels told them about. Imagine these shepherds going through town, knocking on doors, looking for this baby. This drew the attention of others. When the shepherds arrived at the stable, this had to have been affirmation to Mary and Joseph that they were doing just as God had called them to do. Mary treasured these moments and memories, as they were very precious to her. This of all she had been through these past nine months: the scandal that it must have created; the calling from God. Now back to the shepherds, put yourself in their shoes! This of how their fright turned to awe, then to excitement! Could you have kept quiet on the way back to their fields? They were the first to see the Christ Child. Their faith would now be real. They were forever changed. Are we as excited in our faith as these roughneck men were? Do we appreciate this gift we have been given? Have you opened this gift? If not, it’s not too late. Jesus has a gift of unending joy for all of us; the gift of salvation. This gift is the source of our joy and delight.