Several years ago, I was leading a small group of ladies through Paul's letter to the Galatians. In chapter 5, we came to a familiar passage:
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,and self control. Galatians 5:22-23
Julie was in that small group that year, and Julie was from Great Britain. I asked her about Chuck's metaphor. She assured me that it was true. When royalty is in residence at the palace, the flag flies. It's the signal to the "subjects" that their monarch is present.
How fitting a metaphor this is! When the Lord is present to believing hearts, JOY results!
A few years later, this really hit home again! We were celebrating Christmas in my home school moms Bible study group that year by sharing our favorite Christmas song/carol. In almost every case, the over-riding response to the coming of our Lord, our Monarch, the Promised One was...JOY!
We found this to be especially true in the Scriptures surrounding the coming of our Emmanuel, the Lord Jesus Christ. Look for yourself:
It begins with the coming of John the Baptist, Messiah's forerunner:
Luke 1:12-64 -- promise to John's father Zacharias When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth...When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
Luke 1:44-45 -- John in Elizabeth's womb encountering Jesus in Mary's womb! "...As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!"
Luke 1:46-55-- Mary's response to Elizabeth “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior...."
And continues with the angels and shepherds:
Luke 2:10-20 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.”...The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
Matthew 2: 1-10 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”... they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. [literally, they rejoiced vehemently with MEGA-gladness!]
These are just a few instances. Why not search out for yourself, in your favorite Christmas songs & Scriptures, the amazing response of JOY to the presence of Emmanuel, our King Jesus, in a believing heart?
Then let's turn away from the glitz and glitter of the season and focus on HIM, the true cause of our JOY and delight!
Two awesome songs for your time of worship:
Every breath of air Was a silent prayer I was longing for Your face
And I wondered why All the years went by Without a single trace
Anticipating, Lord, we've been waiting Just watching the days come and go But now we know
Joy and the angels sang There was joy Let the whole world know this Joy, our King has finally come Joy, here is the Promised One
Set the captives free Tell the broken reed Hope has been restored And the one who cries For a wandering child Her tears are not ignored
Father in heaven, You gave us reason to see past the pain of today We celebrate
Unending hope for all time When the King of the ages arrived
Luke 24:36-53 -- encountering the Risen Christ