Have you ever heard the story of the man who bought a $10,000 parrot for his mother? It could speak in forty different languages and do half a dozen other tricks. The day came where it was delivered and the man never heard back from his mom. After about a week of no response he finally called her and asked if she liked the bird. “Of course,” his mother replied happily. “Well,” he inquired. “What was your favorite part?” She said, “The thighs! They were delicious.”
A humorous tale no doubt but it points to the importance of proper understanding and application. We’re continuing to walk in the season of Advent, aligning our hearts and minds on the glorious coming of Jesus and this week we are reminded of the great joy that the Father has given us. It’s important for us to understand that there’s a difference between “happiness” and “joy.” Like the son who saw his gift as an amazing pet whereas his mother saw it as a meal,“happiness” and “joy” may look similar in some respects but ultimately, their ends are very different. Author C.S. Lewis wrote, “joy is the serious business of heaven.” Joy is not based on circumstances or on various moments in our lives, joy is rooted in the deep promises of God and His presence in our lives through His Son.
Jesus, born in a manger, would go on to live a perfect and sinless life. He would goon to endure persecution and suffering and torture, ultimately to the point of death, in order that we might be saved. “Jesus didn’t come to give us a good life or good morals…He came to save us from ourselves, to save us from our sins.” (Pastor Jeff Isaacs). And it is through this salvation, this atoning work of Jesus Christ, that we find joy. Joy that is rooted not in our feelings or surroundings but the enduring presence of Immanuel, God with us.
“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
It is God’s presence in which we find the fullness of joy. It’s through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we find the serious business of heaven. This is what is so exciting about the Christmas season, it’s a great time for us to remember the victory and celebrate. The birth of Jesus marks the beginnings of this great victory, this great joy. God Himself comes down and dwells among us and we are now able, by the victory that Christ has established, to enter into the presence of God, to enter into the fullness of joy!
As Pastor Jeff talked about this past weekend, joy silences our fears and generates sharing. Joy, rooted in the perfect love of Christ, drives out all of our fears and leads us into sharing this good news with others. Are you known as a joy-filled person? Would the people closest to you describe you as being joyful? This Christmas season, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, may we remember that joy has come to the world. Christmas is not just a happy day one time a year, but a joyful season that we can celebrate every day of our lives.