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Joy to the world today, rest of the year
Pastor's corner
pastor corner

Christmas is the most joyful time of the year; a time when people are the most happy, most pleasant, most loving and most caring.

People are excited about Christmas, although the focus sometimes is wrong. The real purpose and meaning of Christmas is often camouflaged by the hustle and bustle of shopping, parties and things that do not have anything to do with why we commemorate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is when God brought real joy to the world.

Luke 2:8-14 records the angel announcing the birth of Jesus Christ to the shepherds. The angels announced they were bringing tidings of great joy, which shall be for all people. The birth of Christ was joy to the world.

I am convinced that God wants us to have joy, continuous joy. Too many people have fluctuating joy. They allow differences of opinions, unresolved guilt, wounded egos and other things to rob them of their joy. However, Jesus came that you might have joy and that your joy remain.

Many times we confuse happiness with joy. It is easy to do that. The Bible mentions "joy" or "rejoicing" 330 times. But it only mentions "happiness" 26 times. Happiness depends upon what happens to you. So if all the circumstances are right, then you can be happy. But joy comes from inside.

Joy is not predicated upon how someone treats you, or your bank account, or the things you have. You can be broke and still have joy. You can be mistreated and misunderstood and still have joy.

Joy is the mark of you being a child of God. According to Galatians 5:22, joy is the second fruit of the Spirit. Love is the first. You have to understand that everything stems from the first fruit.

I know times are hard and that sometimes we want to complain about how terrible life is, but I want you to know that the joy of the Lord is our strength. God has given us joy that is unspeakable and peace that surpasses all understanding.

If you want to have joy, you have to give your worries to Jesus. Too many people spend time worrying about things they cannot do anything about. God did not call us to be people of worry, but people of faith. We have to trust God to supply all our needs according to his riches in glory. Worry is sign of doubt.

We serve a God who is omnipotent, omniscience and omnipresence. If God is all power and all knowing, why should we worry? There is no situation that God does not know about or cannot handle.

Then, if you want to have joy, you have to keep your focus on Jesus. Too many times we focus on things rather than Jesus. We have the cart before the horse. The word of God says if you seek first the kingdom of God these things will be added unto you. If you want things you have to get your priorities straight.

Do not focus on people because people will let you down. Do not focus on your past because your past does not dictate your future. Focus on Jesus.

Finally, if you want joy you have to be willing to share your joy.

God did not give you joy to keep for yourself, but that you might enrich others. You can share your joy by telling others about the goodness of Jesus Christ. Tell others about how he came into your life and gave you joy.

This Christmas, allow the joy of the Lord to be your strength. Put your worries in God’s hands. Let us celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior who brought joy to the world.

Jackson is the pastor of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.

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