Jesus’ birth was good news of great joy. Jesus’ death was endured “for the joy set before Him.” And Jesus’ resurrection sealed the possibility for mankind to have fullness of joy in God’s presence. The Christmas season is often one marked by joy. Many people gather as families to experience the joy that comes from being with those they love. Some of my favorite childhood memories happened during Christmastime.
My brothers and I spent countless hours playing with Legos, snowboarding down grandma’s stairs, hiking to the creek, and playing Super Mario Bros. We are designed to live in relationship with one another and find joy in these moments. This is true on a horizontal level with family and friends, and it is true on a vertical level in our relationship with God. David writes in Psalm 16:11, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
The greatest joy you and I can experience is found in the presence of God. This truth does not invalidate the joy that comes from spending time with family. These are good gifts given from the hand of a gracious Father (James 1:17-18). But good gifts were never intended to provide ultimate joy; only a relationship with our Creator can provide that. Yet, the distance between God and man is so great that except by some voluntary act of humility on God’s part, we could never have a relationship with him or experience the joy of His presence. This is why Jesus came. He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15) and the Word through whom all things were created (John 1:3). As an expression of the perfect joy He had with the Father, Jesus willingly took on human flesh and stepped into our story. God made His dwelling among man.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)
Jesus’ birth was good news of great joy because it birth brought the promise of salvation (Luke 2:29-32). Jesus was not merely born to live as an example of morality; He was born to die that He might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). Our greatest joy was purchased at the greatest price–the death of God’s own Son (Isaiah 53:4). But this price was not paid out of compulsion; He willingly endured the cross in order to obtain the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). Three days later, He burst out of the grave as proof the price of sin had been paid, and our relationship with God could be restored. It is because of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection we can experience a fullness of joy in Him.
The story of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection revolve around joy. Jesus’ birth was good news of great joy (Luke 2:10). Jesus’ death was endured “for the joy set before Him.” And, Jesus’ resurrection sealed the possibility for mankind to have fullness of joy in God’s presence. It is with great joy we celebrate these truths this Christmas.