JOY TO THE WORLD
December 11, 2016, Advent III
A preacher was completing a sermon on temperance. With great expression he said, "If I had all the beer in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river!"
The congregation nodded their approval. With even greater emphasis the preacher added, "And if I had all the wine in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river, too!"
The people clapped and said, "AMEN."
"And if I had all the whiskey in the world," said the preacher, "I'd take it and throw it into the river!"
As the reverend sat down, the song leader then stood very cautiously and announced with a smile, "For our closing song, let us sing Hymn 365: 'Shall We Gather at the River.'"
We laugh at this joke but many try to use alcohol as their counselor. Many think joy can be found in a bottle of liquor. In fact all kinds of addictions are attempts to find joy or satisfaction or at the very least a distraction from misery and pain.
I saw a car ad recently that made the claim ‘We make Joy’. It is ludicrous and audacious. Joy is not created. Joy does not come from things. People cannot create Joy.
WHAT IS JOY?
Joy is being in relationship with the Almighty God. Quite simply it is described in Ps. 146
146:5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God, 146:6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; 146:7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free;
How can we live a life of Joy?
First we are born to be joyful
We are born to be joyful. The challenge is that we allow circumstances to steal our joy. When we become depressed we cannot see what is joyful. When we become envious or covetous we forget that we already have everything we need to be joyful. When we worry or are anxious we allow these feelings to rob us of the possibility to experience joy. Sinful acts or thoughts tarnish our joy. What is so wonderful is that God has prepared a day when joy will be undiminished. There will be no covering it up. Joy in all its fullness will be experienced by the millions upon millions of people from every generation who put their trust in the one true living God.
Second Joy does not come from us
The children’s song the Joy of the Lord is my strength comes from scripture. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
When we de-clutter our emotions we can experience the Joy that comes from God. We, the whole world can experience new strength and resolve to face the difficult moments because God gave us the gift of Joy. It is ours to have and we can sing that great carol of that speaks of the day when God will not allow any thing to interrupt our Joy. We can all sing Joy to the World.
Let us pray