by Pastor George Pearsons
Where’s the joy of Christmas?
That’s a pressing question these days. Researchers tell us that for many, Christmas is the most stressful time of year. More people suffer depression, worry about finances and grieve over the disappointments in their lives during Christmastime than during any other season.
But as born-again believers, you and I have good news for those people. We have the same message for them that the angels had for the shepherds in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. We have “tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10)!
With a smile on your face and a sparkle in your eye, you can lovingly let them know that Jesus has come to help them and deliver them. He has come to heal and prosper them, and bring them peace.
Jesus has come and the joy is back!
People these days need to hear that message as desperately as they needed to hear it that first Christmas night when Jesus was born. They need to hear believers praising God and saying, “Hey, everyone, you don’t have to be depressed. God loves you. He has goodwill toward you. He has sent you a Savior—Jesus Christ, The LORD!”
‘But It’s Just Not Enough’
Some people think that message is too simple to solve the complex problems we face today. They think the world is too dark, that times have become too bad. They think the message that lit up the night sky thousands of years ago of “the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” just isn’t enough anymore.
The truth is, if it was enough for the people back then (and it was!), it’s enough for people today. Those were dark times. Joy had disappeared from the nation of Israel. As the Old Testament prophets wrote:
“The vine is dried up and the fig tree fails; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also…even all the trees of the field are withered, so that joy has withered and fled away from the sons of men” (Joel 1:12, Amplified Bible, Classic Edition).
“Joy and gladness is taken from the plentiful field” (Jeremiah 48:33, King James Version).
“All joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is banished and gone into captivity” (Isaiah 24:11, AMPC).
A People in Mourning
At that particular time in history, there was no joy and no peace. Terror and fear were the order of the day. The political system was exceedingly corrupt. King Herod was detested by the people. They abhorred his unparalleled deeds of reckless cruelty and bloodshed. Historians record that no woman’s honor was safe, no man’s life secure as long as Herod reigned. His suspicious nature drove him to murder anyone he considered a rival, including his wife, her mother and his own three sons. Even the Roman emperor (who was no paragon of virtue himself) called Herod a “murderous old man” and said it was better to be Herod’s pig than his son. Proverbs 29:2 (KJV)says, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” No doubt, people were mourning in Herod’s day.
It was then, during the darkest of times, that the angel of God appeared to the shepherds and said, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ The LORD” (Luke 2:10-11, KJV).
When those words rang out, earth’s atmosphere changed forever. A new government had been announced. A new Ruler was about to begin His reign. Isaiah’s prophecy had been fulfilled (Isaiah 9:6-7).
He Is Still Immanuel
That was the day the joy of The LORD was born in the earth. And, praise God, that joy is still with us today!
I say that boldly even though 2,000 years have come and gone since Jesus was born. Why? Because the Bible says in Matthew 1:23, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, ‘God with us’” (New King James Version).
God came to be with us in Jesus on the first Christmas morning—and He is still with us in Him today. Even though Jesus died on the cross and bore our sins, even though He was raised again and ascended physically to be with the Father, Jesus is still here. Through the Person of the Holy Spirit, He is still on the earth, living in the hearts of everyone who receives Him as LORD of their lives.
Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20, KJV).He also promised, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5, KJV).
Jesus is here to bring fullness of joy into our lives (John 17:13). He is here giving us the joy of The LORD, the greatest Christmas present anyone could ever imagine. So no matter how dark things may seem to be around us, we can confidently say to ourselves…to each other…and to a lost world, “The joy is back!”
Unto You Is Born a Savior!
“I don’t know about that, Pastor George,” you might say. “I’m a Christian. I’ve trusted Jesus as my Savior and LORD but, even so, I don’t feel joyful right now.”
Well, are you fellowshipping with Him—enjoying His presence and focusing on the wonder of what He has done within you? Or are you so focused on the negative things happening around you that you’ve lost sight of the fact that the Son of God has been born unto you?
Think about how excited a couple gets when their first child is born. I remember how it was for Terri and me. We were so thrilled about the birth of our son, Jeremy, that we could hardly think of anything else. We spent hours and days getting his little room ready. We made great preparations for him because we knew he would be a focal point of our lives for a long while. The moment he was born, Terri yelled, “Praise God!” Then the nurses brought out that little boy to me and I knew I’d never be the same. My heart was so full of joy I could hardly stand it. Unto me a son was born that day and he has brought me great joy ever since!
When our daughter, Aubrey, was born a few years later, I experienced that same joy again. Our children changed our whole lives. Terri and I scheduled our lives around our children. And we’ve taken enough photos and videotapes of our times with them to start a museum. And in all those pictures you can see that there was great joy in our household.
How much more should we be that way about Jesus? How much more should we center our lives on Him? How much more should we think about Him and talk to Him and enjoy His presence in everything we do?
If we’ll do that, we’ll find—sure enough—the joy is back in our lives! VICTORY
George Pearsons is senior pastor of Eagle Mountain International Church, located on the grounds of Kenneth Copeland Ministries. For more information or ministry materials write to KCM, Fort Worth, TX 76192-0001.