“Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:10,14 NKJV
A snowy peaceful morning and a spectacular joyous sunrise!
The angels proclaimed it on the night of Jesus birth, great joy and peace for all people on earth. The shepherds were the first ones who believed it, accepted it and received it. The shepherds were so filled with joy that, after they had seen Him, they just had to tell others. “Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.” Luke 2:17
Jesus, God with us, brought not only the gifts of forgiveness and salvation, but the gifts of joy and peace. All of these gifts are given freely but we have to believe, accept and receive them just like the shepherds on the that first Christmas long ago.
I would probably be considered an optimist. I generally look for the best in people, believe that things will work out for the best and try to motivate and uplift others. And before you think I’m a nice person, know that I am also cynical and sarcastic at times, questioning people’s motives and easily frustrated with people and situations (just ask my husband!).
Our gifts of joy and peace seem to be more fleeting than others. We have to continually “refresh” our joy and peace (too bad we can’t just click on it like a computer page). Too quickly; the busy schedule of our lives, the problems of the day and the frustrations of relationships, drain our joy and steal our peace. How can we recapture our joy and peace that Jesus promises us?
I tend to replenish by reading chapter 4 in Philippians. Paul is my go-to guy for practical advice.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 NKJV I think Paul is telling me, and each of us, that joy is a conscious effort. It’s not just when you “feel” joyful that you rejoice. But rejoice and the joy will follow. It forces us to find the joy in our lives, in every situation. The joy of knowing Jesus and His forgiveness, His salvation, His joy, His peace, His place by our sides and in our hearts.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 NKJV How can we feel peaceful when all around us chaos seems to rein? Only through our relationship with Jesus, only in Him may we have true peace. Just like the shepherds on the first Christmas, we have to find Him.
This week, as Christmas quickly approaches and our lists grow longer, let’s all take time to rejoice. Rejoice in all of our blessings and thank God for the greatest gift of His Son, Jesus. Let’s spend some time in God’s Word believing, accepting, and receiving the peace promised to us at Jesus birth.
I thank God for each of you! And I thank you for joining me this week as we “refresh” our gifts of joy and peace in this Christmas season.
Blessings of joy and peace!