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hope for churches in stress


During the Christmas season, we celebrate the hope, peace, joy, and love found in Jesus. We rejoice in biblical promises of hope, peace, and love with a measure of understanding, but joy is elusive.

Whether or not we can describe this phenomenon, we can anticipate joy in relationship with Jesus as our Savior and Lord.

In Forgiveness. When we do wrong, we incur what the Bible calls “guilt” (John 15:22; James 2:10). This may be an emotion of remorse or shame. Guilt is also an objective spiritual barrier that separates us from Jesus. When we ask Jesus to forgive our sin, this guilt is removed (Romans 8:1-4). As C. S. Lewis describes our internal response, we are surprised by joy.

In Wonder. Because Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose again—to live among us now—he can, and does, break into our lives to do great and wonderful things. When this occurs, we experience joy, sometimes more than we can contain (Luke 1:14-15, 44, 58; 10:17; 24:52).

In Suffering. Even in suffering, we can feel joy in the comforting presence of Jesus. At times, we can look back and rejoice in good outcomes that have come through difficulties (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4).

Joy may be the greatest of all motivations to talk about Jesus (Luke 2:16-20). As we experience joy, we are privileged to tell others:

I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10).


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