An Advent Series, Preparing for His Coming
Week 3, It’s a Wonderful Life
It’s a Wonderful Life
Finding Joy this Christmas
I love that scene in the movie. George Baily was in trouble. He thought he had lost everything, all of His Joy was gone. But then the joy of Christmas, family and friends overwhelms him with the help of an angel named Clarance… great movie…one of my favorite of all time!!!
We can lose our joy the same way George Daily did…but let’s not do that any more. Let’s use the letters in the word J.O.Y. to look at three ideas to have Christmas Joy…but first let’s look at the mains issues of lost joy!!
“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” John 15:11
Jesus says, I came that you might have Joy, not only Joy, but overflowing Joy!!
I came across a collection of letters that children wrote to Santa Claus. Some of them were pretty good. One said, “Dear Santa, you did not bring me anything good last year. You did not bring me anything good the year before that. This is your last chance. Signed, Alfred.”
My favorite went like this: “Dear Santa, there are three little boys who live at our house. There is Jeffrey; he is 2. There is David; he is 4. And there is Norman; he is 7. Jeffrey is good some of the time. David is good some of the time. But Norman is good all of the time. Sincerely, Norman.”
If you could use one word to describe Christmas, what word would it be? Some folks would use words like headache, busyness, expensive, or bothersome. Too many people Christmas is just another day, only a little more expensive and a lot more trouble. I have heard even Christians use these words to describe the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.
How sad that an event that brought so much joy in Heaven should bring so little joy here on earth!!
I would like to suggest that today and always we celebrate Christmas season as a time of joy, no matter how broke you are or how busy you are. Joy is like love- it is not merely an emotion, but a decision, and I believe we can be as joyful as you want to be.
It’s all in where we choose to put our focus. If you really want to have joy this Christmas season, let me suggest 3 places to focus our hearts and minds.
- FOCUS ON J-ESUS (Philippians 4:4)
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
- Remember Christmas is about Christ, In one of my favorite Christmas TV specials, Charlie Brown asks if anyone knows what Christmas is about, and Linus recites the story of Christ’s birth from Luke 2. And then today we have Jillian and Katie read the same passage. These verses focus us on Jesus. Remember Christmas is about Christ, not primarily about us-our family, friends, church, presents-but about Him?
Illu. One year a Christmas guest asked five-year-old Ruth, “Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas?” After a moment’s hesitation, she answered, “No, but then it’s not my birthday!”
2. Isn’t it easy to get so wrapped up in the celebration that we can forget what it is we are supposed to be celebrating?
“When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!” Matthew 2:10
3. The world does that. They try to steal our focus. We are being politically incorrect to say Merry Christmas- they want is to say Happy Holidays or Merry X-mas or Happy Hannakuh, or Happy Kwanzza to compete for the place that belongs to the Son of God.
4. If you are a Christian, focusing on Jesus means that you not only remember the Savior in the manger, but remember the Savior in your heart.
“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.” Hebrews 12:2
Not only was Jesus born in Bethlehem, but by faith and by His Spirit He lives in us. Let’s Always be full of joy in the Lord!!
II. FOCUS ON O-THERS (Mark 10:45)
- Focusing on Jesus helps us become more like Him. Then we adopt His attitude towards others…
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
- Joy does not come from getting all we can get from others, but in giving all we can give to others.
- It is this focus on others that will bring us Joy!!
“Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.” Matthew 5:42
- Those who Follow the Lord and Keep His Commands…
“Share freely and give generously to those in need.” Psalm 112:9
IV. FOCUS ON Y-OURSELF (Philippians 4:6)
So let’s Focus on Jesus, Focus on Others and third, Focus on Ourselves this Christmas.
- Our own attitudes can determine whether or not we will experience joy this year. We can stress-out, worry, get discouraged and our joy can be gone!!
- Worry and Stress?
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6
“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
“So take courage!” Acts 27:25
“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again” Psalm 42:5
- Christmas is based on an Exchange of Gifts: The Gift of God to His people is His One and only Son Jesus Christ, and the Gift of His people to God is when we give Ourselves back to Him…That’s the Christmas deal!!
God has a gift for you this Christmas- it is the joy that you unwrap by focusing on Jesus, Others, and then Yourself. Don’t unwrap the gift of joy only today—open it now and enjoy it everyday…
By the way, have a very Blessed Christmas!