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Christmas:  What about it causes you to rejoice? 

Gary Googe Dec 12

Of course, the word “rejoice” means to simply cause great joy or delight.  What are the things that cause this in you?  As I write this, we’re in football season.  If you want to see some rejoicing or, on the other hand, some very depressed people, watch a pro game or even any of the others.  It is there that you’ll see a big display of emotions.  Is there anything necessarily wrong with that? No! But doesn’t it tell us a lot about people and the things they’ll emote over? What are the things in life that excite or depress you most? In answering that, what does your answer tell you about yourself?

As we near Christmas, many young people will be getting excited about what they may be getting for Christmas.  I know I always was.  But many years ago I remember getting excited when I first realized that my eternal future in the wonderful place called Heaven was secured and settled.  I learned without a doubt that I’d someday get to spend eternity in this wonderful place called Heaven.  Realizing the meaning of these next two verses as it relates to that made me then and now even more amazed at my eternal future.  What a truly exciting truth that is!

Ephesians 2:8-9

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Yes! It surely is a gift.  It is offered as something free to anyone and everyone who will accept God’s provision for it.

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. [Emphasis added]

Kids are typically told that they have to be good to get gifts at Christmas.  But this is the best gift anyone will ever receive and being good has absolutely nothing to do with it.  If you could earn it, it would be something you’d be prone to boast about as something you achieved.  But it is free! What a wonderful difference knowing and believing this will make in any believer’s life! Getting gifts at Christmas can be a lot of fun but it doesn’t compare at all with the value of this gift.

When my son and daughter were very young, it was always my wife’s custom to put them to bed.  I’ll never forget what she told me one night about my son.  She said that when she was sitting on the edge of his bed talking with him, she had a conversation with him about Heaven.  She told me his eyes lit up when she was explaining to him about the wonders of Heaven and how he’d someday get to live there.  She said he was emotionally moved with excitement as he thought about it all.  Shouldn’t we all feel that way about it? If you’ve accepted by faith alone God’s provision for your salvation, you’ll get to live there someday, too.  Isn’t this something we should all be extremely excited about, even wanting to tell others about it? But are you ever caused to wonder about people who never even give all this a second thought? Yet there may be many temporal things they get extremely excited about. 

What about answered prayer? Isn’t that also something to be excited about?  But some people don’t pray at all.  They don’t even think of it as an opportunity and something they should be excited about doing. The Bible tells us of the “joy and gladness” some had when they learned of their answered prayer and the soon coming birth of one known as “John the Baptist.”

Luke 1:13-14

13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. [Emphasis added]

The men called the Magi or “the wise men” were excited to learn about being led by a star to the birthplace of Jesus who would be their Savior.  We have the record of them inquiring of King Herod, the king of Israel, regarding the whereabouts of this child.

Matthew 2:9-10 

9 When they had heard the king [Herod], they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. [Emphasis added]

Even the week before His death in Jerusalem there were many people who rejoiced over Him, thinking He had come to establish an earthly kingdom.

Luke 19:36-38

36 And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.

37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;

38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. [Emphasis added]

But in this case these people wanted a king to run off the Romans, not a Savior.  Many didn’t even know or believe they needed one.  Jesus even warned His disciples and others that the day would come when they would be hated because of their relationship with Him.

Luke 6:22-23

22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

But notice what He tells them they should think about that when it happens.

23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. [Emphasis added]

But He essentially tells them in cloaked or vague terms that the cross must precede the crown.

John 16:19-22

19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?

Here He not only predicts the cross that awaits Him, but His resurrection.

20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice [speaking of those who rejected Him]: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

21 A woman when she is in travail [having birth pains] hath sorrow, because her hour is come [time of delivery]: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.

22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. [Emphasis added]

Isn’t it wonderful to know that the best is yet to come for us?  Yes, all who identify themselves with Jesus Christ have a lot to look forward to enjoying forever.  Just as He obtained a resurrected body, so will we who have believed in Him as our Savior.

Philippians 3:20-21

20 For our conversation [POLITEUO = citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour [at the time of what is called the Rapture], the Lord Jesus Christ:

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. [Emphasis added]

Even though there’s good news in all this, Jesus warned His disciples that the day would come when His enemies would rejoice over His death on the cross, thinking they were rid of Him.

None of us know of all the suffering that may await us in this life, but the day will come when all that will be over.  What a glorious time that will be for all who have simply accepted by faith the provision God has made for their salvation! If you’ve not done that, I hope you will now.

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