Archive - December, 2010

Day 25 // Joy

“… the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.’” Luke 2:10 (NIV)

If Jesus came to your house would He know it was His birthday? It will make all the difference between you experiencing lasting joy or a short-lived happiness this Christmas. One of the most popular Christmas carols of all time says it best – Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Our Advent adventure has arrived in the celebration of our Savior’s birth! The angels told the shepherds, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.”

Christ is our joy! He didn’t come just to give us something called joy. He came to be our joy! Happiness is temporary. It depends on what happens. But joy is eternal. Even amid trials and painful circumstances 1 Peter 1:8 tells Christ followers that we have an abiding joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.

Advent is a day of rejoicing! A great way to do that is to read the Christmas story before you open the presents. If you are doing the Advent Wreath you will want to light the Christ candle in the middle of your wreath and read Matthew 1:18-25 and/or Luke 2:1-20. Then thank Him for coming that your joy may be complete! Celebrate with Christmas carols and have some birthday cake. The reason for the joy is that a Savior has been born! He came to save us from our sins! Who can’t get joyful over that? We all have the same sin problem, and Jesus has the antidote! Let joy replace the burden of guilt and shame! Rejoice, Christ follower! Your sins are forgiven. You have a home in heaven! Nothing can come into your life apart from His divine permission and His grace to handle it!

Joy comes when we thank Him for being more than adequate for any and every situation that should ever arise in our lives. In Peter’s first sermon at Pentecost he quoted a Psalm that says “You fill me with joy in Your presence” (Acts 2:28) If you want to be filled with joy, then remain in His presence! As you practice the presence of Christ with you moment by moment, you will sense a joy you have never known!

Joy is His Christmas gift to you this Christmas. Go ahead and unwrap it! It’s yours. Let it overflow as you celebrate His birth today!

My heart is filled with joy in Your presence today, Lord. I’m so grateful You came that my sins may be forgiven. I want to experience Your joy and let it overflow into the lives of those around me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

In what ways can you express your joy this Christmas?

If Jesus came to your house would He know it was His birthday?

Share the joy you have in Jesus with someone.

Beware of the killjoys in your life and commit them quickly to Christ.

Day 24 // Room

“She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped Him in strips of cloth and laid Him in a manger because there wasn’t any room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7 (GW)

The most exciting day of the year for me as a kid was Christmas Eve! I could hardly wait for Christmas morning to get here. My two brothers and I would get up early, run to our parent’s room and jump on their beds eager to get to the presents all bundled together in three separate areas under the tree. Our five children weren’t any different growing up.

It was a different story, though, on that first Christmas Eve. Imagine a young husband scrambling in a crowded city trying desperately to find an affordable place for his wife who was ready to deliver her first baby at any moment. Every place he checked was booked. No vacancy signs were posted on all the hotels. There simply wasn’t any room available. Then the unthinkable happened. The Bible says, “The time came for Mary to have her baby.”

With no other options, she would give birth in what many scholars believe may have been a cave where animals were sheltered. The word translated “manger” is also translated as “stall” and can either mean a feeding trough or an enclosure for animals. That was Christmas for Mary and Joseph.

Whenever I read that passage I’m convicted by the phrase “there wasn’t any room for them …” It makes me ask myself the question: “Do I make room for Christ?” If you want to experience the most meaningful Christmas ever, you must make room for Christ. Our lives become crowded with so many things, and our schedules become overbooked until we have little, if any time for the things that matter most. Soon we go from living to just existing. Christ came that our joy would be complete! He came to share His life with us. You can experience that life if you will make room for Christ. Decide now. Don’t wait for New Year’s to make a meaningless resolution that won’t last. Carve out some time right now to be alone with God. Make room. It won’t happen by accident. Be intentional. You may have to begin by evicting some other stuff so you can make room for Christ. Make it your sacred room where you meet regularly, daily with God. Make room for Him in your decisions and daily activities. It won’t be long before the excitement of Christmas Eve returns as you anticipate your time alone with the Christ of Christmas.

I’m taking down the no vacancy sign over my heart, Lord Jesus. I want to make room for You in every area of my life. Show me how as I learn to practice Your presence daily.

What will you need to evict to make room for Christ in your life? In your schedule?

Set a time and place to begin.

It may help to set an empty chair next to you and imagine Christ with you as you pray and meditate over a passage in the Bible.

Record any promptings or insights you get from God’s Word in a simple journal.

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