Dr. Craig Kraft
/Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Philippians 4:4 tells us to “rejoice in the Lord always.”
James 1:2 calls us to “count it all joy when we face all kinds of trials.”
If you are like me, then you have days when it is hard to be joyful. The pandemic has not made me feel joyful. Being isolated from friends and family has not brought greater joy into my life. Leading a Mission organization during a time of economic uncertainty does not inspire spontaneous celebration and rejoicing.
Like hope and peace that we have reflected on over the past two weeks, we can choose to be joyful despite circumstances that are outside of our control.
I think we could all use an infusion of joy this Christmas. Don’t wait for a magical combination of circumstances to bring spontaneous and temporary feelings of Joy. Real life is not a Hallmark Christmas movie. Choose to be happy and make your joy contagious.
3 Suggestions for JOY
Here are three suggestions for a joy-filled holiday.
1. Recognize that trials and challenges make us stronger. What challenge or difficulty are you facing today, and how do you think God is using it to strengthen you?
2. The Bible frequently connects joy with worship and the Gospel. Reacquaint yourself with the Gospel (good news of Jesus – John 3:16, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Have you received the gift of life, forgiveness, grace, and salvation that comes through Jesus? If so, then thank God for that gift. If not, then maybe you need to receive God’s most precious gift this Christmas.
a.Romans 10:9-10 - If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.
b.Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
c.Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God
3. Share your joy with someone today. Many of us are shut-in this year and missing our family and friends. Call a friend and tell them what fills you with joy. Make sure that your Christmas celebration includes worship, reflecting your gratitude to God for who he is and what he has done for you.
This blog, which is the third in our Advent List series, has been written by Dr. Craig Kraft, the Executive Director of Outreach Canada.