Christmas: What is the source of real joy to the world?
Sadly, there are many who will not find real joy in this Christmas season. This is not a time they will ENJOY. Oh, many will have some degree of fun in all the festivities of the time, but real joy, the kind that only God provides, the kind that has eternal value, will not be a part of their Christmas. Even though they may not want to admit it, many have a certain uneasiness, knowing all is not well for them in the way it counts most. And whether they’ve come to realize it or not, that is all because they’ve chosen to live independently of the God who gave them life and all the opportunities it offers. Yes, people may live a relatively clean life, perhaps even be involved in a church, but the reality of what “church” is supposed to be about is not a real factor in how they govern their lives. Such a shame it is! And I think this is more common now in America than it has ever been before. How different and how much better things could be for them! What’s the story about this for you?
For those of us who know Jesus Christ as our Savior and appreciate His words to us in Scripture, Christmas is a wonderful time of celebration. Not just because it is the Christmas time of the year, but because we are now one day closer to the time when we’ll be with our Savior and able to enjoy all the eternal blessings He will give us.
One of my favorite Christmas hymns has always been Joy to the World. It was written in 1719 by the English minister Isaac Watts (1674–1748). Since the twentieth century it has been America’s favorite Christmas hymn. The hymn has its origin in one of the Davidic Psalms of Scripture.
4 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. [Emphasis added]
The first verse of the hymn clearly reflects this passage.
Joy to the world! The Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.
The hymn is also reflective of the coming time when Christ will be crowned King of kings and Lord of lords.
1 The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.
2 Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting. [Emphasis added]
There’s also Psalm 96 on this.
10 Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.
11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.
12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice
13 Before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. [Emphasis added]
God’s judgment of the world is something for the unbeliever to fear, but it is something for believers to eagerly anticipate.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, [Emphasis added]
What is the basis for this joy we’re to have in Christ? This is all to do with the fact that the rulership God gave man at the beginning of creation was lost to Satan but will finally be regained.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. [Emphasis added]
Man’s rulership over the Earth was lost because of his choice to sin.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. [Emphasis added]
The apostle Paul speaks of man’s fall into sin that caused him to lose his rulership over the Earth.
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: [Emphasis added]
This sin brought forth a pronouncement of condemnation from the justice of God.
16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. [Emphasis added]
All this took man’s rulership from him and transferred it to Satan. Apart from the salvation God offers, man now serves Satan.
2 Wherein in time past ye [when we were unbelievers] walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [Emphasis added]
The whole creation now groans and yearns for the day when it will be released from its bondage to sin and Satan’s control.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [Emphasis added]
It was at man’s fall into sin and its bondage that Satan became “the god of this world.” He does all he can to blind people to these truths and more.
II Corinthians 4:4
4 In whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. [Emphasis added]
This is why Satan’s offer to Christ to rule the world was a legitimate one, for he surely is the god of this world.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. [Emphasis added]
Even though the whole story has still not played out, strategically Christ has won back this crown Satan holds. The complete restoration of Christ’s rule is yet to be brought about. All this was provided for through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
Hebrews 2:7-9 from Psalm 8:4-8
7 Thou madest him [mankind] a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. [Emphasis added]
The apostle Paul also speaks of this.
7 But [Jesus Christ] made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name [and position of authority] which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [Emphasis added]
Therefore, we can rejoice over the fact that, as believers, we’re on the winning team, so to speak. The day will finally come when we will rule with Christ in this wonderful kingdom. God the Father’s plan to place Jesus Christ as King over Earth is currently delayed. He is currently dispensing grace in this present period of history. As Christ will someday rule an earthly kingdom, He will also rule over a heavenly one. That’s where we come in. We are promised that we as members of the Body of Christ will rule with Him in the heavenly portion of His kingdom. This, of course, will produce joy over all the Earth as never before. There will then be rejoicing in Heaven and on Earth over the removal of Satan and God’s work in both Heaven and Earth, providing His people with an eternal home.
I Timothy 6:14-15
14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; [Emphasis added]
In the last book of the Bible, in the book of Revelation, we see the consummation of all things as it relates to God’s people of Israel. But we, too, will be a part of this, having an eternal home in heaven.
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. [Emphasis added]
It is because of God’s provision for all these things that there’s good reason for joy throughout the world. How joyful are you about these things? Joy over temporal things will vanish, but the joy any believer can have in Christ will last forever. Therefore, it should be obvious that a person’s eternal relationship with Christ should be treasured over all things.
Christmas: What about the three wise men?