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Overflowing Joy - First15 - December 25, 2017

  • 2017 Dec 25
  • COMMENTS

Overflowing Joy

Weekly Overview:

Christmas is a time where we as believers celebrate God’s heart to write himself into our story. Prior to Jesus we had no real picture of God’s love. All we had to know him by was through stories of old and commandments written into law. But only in Jesus was a pathway created whereby we could walk in intimacy with the Father again. Only in Jesus was the veil torn allowing God’s manifest presence into the earth. We owe all that we have to Jesus. We owe all that we have to Christmas. May these two days be filled with joyful worship as we celebrate our newborn King.

Scripture:

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.” 1 Peter 1:8

Devotional:

In Luke 2:8-14, the Bible describes a beautiful event around the time of Jesus’ birth. Scripture says,

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

This passage contains my favorite phrase in the Christmas story: “good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” The birth of Jesus was intended to be a celebration of great joy for everyone. With all of humanity in his heart, God sent his only son. With an overwhelming desire to have restored relationship with his people, God came down in the flesh that we might learn of the good news of his unconditional love.

God’s intention for you and me is to be a people of great joy. We’ve been given the greatest gift the world has ever known in Jesus. New life, eternal redemption, and unhindered relationship with our Creator are ours because of Christmas.

But in order for you and me to receive the overflowing joy available to us in God, we have to choose to center ourselves around who Jesus is. We have to choose to center our emotions, actions, words, thoughts, and decisions around God’s unceasing mercy and steadfast love. The world tries to pull our hearts in every direction. Stress, earthly pursuits, and constant pressure mark the hearts and minds of so many. But the miracle of Christmas is that we can set our eyes on God himself. We can see and know who God truly is and gain perspective on even the hardest of circumstances.

Overflowing joy is yours today in the Holy Spirit. Real, abundant life is available to you this Christmas. Just as Jesus died for you, he was born for you. Just as he gave his life on the cross, he gave his throne in heaven to take on flesh. Everything you truly need has been provided for you in the heart of God. May your day be filled with overflowing joy and ceaseless praise as you set your eyes on Jesus, the author of “good news and great joy that will be for all the people.”

Guided Prayer:

1. Meditate on Jesus’ heart to fill you with overflowing joy. Set your eyes on him and look at his face of love.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

2. Where do you need joy today? Where do you need peace that transcends circumstances?

“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

3. Open your heart to God and receive what he longs to give. Rest in his unfailing love and boundless joy.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.” 1 Peter 1:8

May you find joy in every little gift God’s given you today. Whether it’s in opening presents, spending time with family, eating good food, or simply enjoying his presence, God has good and pleasing gifts for you today and every day. May his love for you be a foundation on which you can fully enjoy everything in your life. May his grace sustain you through any circumstance. May his face shine upon you that your heart might be filled with peace.

Extended Reading: Luke 2

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