Christmas is coming soon.  Many of us have our Christmas trees up and presents start to appear under the tree.  Some presents are complex and have many parts to them.  For example, maybe you get your little girl a dollhouse and spend several hours putting all the parts together.  She’s thrilled with this complex gift.  This Christmas, God intends to give you and me the gift of joy; we see it promised in the coming of Jesus.  There are at least two parts to it, and both are tied to the person of Jesus Christ.  Luke 2:8-11 says, “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah the Lord.
      First, we experience joy because Jesus is our Savior.  His very name Jesus means “God saves.” We all have this deep brokenness, this sin problem that we cannot fix.  Education will not fix it.  Counseling will not fix it.  Only the God of the Bible can pay the price for our rebellion.  Because of His deep love for us He chose to send Jesus to offer his sinless life for us, thereby satisfying the justice and righteous wrath of God so we could be forgiven.  This salvation gives us joy.  This is a joy similar to the person who was drowning being pulled out of the lake by a lifeguard or the person in a burning building being dragged out by a firefighter.  It’s the joy of the person up to their neck in debt and a huge financial miracle breaks the chains of debt in their life. 
       Second, we experience joy because Jesus is the Christ or Messiah.  This means Jesus is the long promised one.  All the way back to the fall of man in the book of Genesis, God said that someone, the seed of woman, would come and help (Genesis 3:15).  The Jewish people watched with anticipation for centuries for the Messiah, and finally Jesus came.  This gives us joy because it makes it crystal clear that God keeps His promises.  According to Herbert Lockyer’s All the Promises of the Bible, there are more than 8,000 promises in Scripture!  So, as we go through life we can be people of joy and hope because we know that all God has promised will eventually be fulfilled.  Just one example is the promise of heaven woven through the Scriptures.  Theologian Scot McKnight says, “Heaven will be a glorious union of delight in God and delight in one another, of worship and fellowship” (The Heaven Promise, 14).  For the Christian, this life is not all there is.  There will be unending joy, peace and even adventure in the New Heaven and the New Earth. 
       This Christmas, hear the message of the angels and unwrap joy through believing in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  May each of you experience the eternal joy of Christmas.  The God of joy is smiling as we open this beautiful gift.   
Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church