Rejoice in our confident hope. Romans 12:12 NLT
In light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut, it is hard to press on with our Christmas celebratory traditions. Apparently, those in Newtown felt similarly and have purged the town from its Christmas decorations out of respect for those who are mourning. Weepily, I worshipped during our Sunday morning worship service. As I did, these word’s from the popular Christmas carol we were singing, stood out to me for the very first time.
Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?
In the heaviness of these times, I imagined the world asking these same questions. And to be perfectly honest, I found myself asking these questions too. Why this jubilee? Why are you singing? Why are you celebrating? What is the glad tidings? What inspires your praise at a time like this?
As we sang on, the next Christmas carol appeared to provide answers to these questions.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
The world did not become paradise when Jesus entered it. Our world in all its sin, error and evil is still yearning, pining. But it is the thrill of hope that makes this weary world rejoice. Isaiah prophesied that a Messiah would come and fulfil these words, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Jesus came and the words of Isaiah were fulfilled. (1 John 3:8; Luke 4:18-20) Scripture says that Christ disarmed the enemy at the cross. (Colossians 2:15) However we still look forward to a time of no more death or mourning or crying or pain. (Revelation 21:4) Theologians refer to it as the “Already but Not-yet”.
John the Baptist announced the Kingdom of God is at hand. (Matthew 3:2) Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God is within us. (Luke 17:21) But Jesus both warned and encouraged, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world”. (John 16:33 NLT) As citizens of the Kingdom of God (John 3:3 AMP), we experience many benefits. But many of the benefits will be in the future. The Bible decrees a glorious future Kingdom when Christ will rule and reign! (Daniel 2:44, 7:13-14, 22; Revelation 11:15, 19:11-16, 21:1-4).
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Newtown, Connecticut during this time of grief. In the face of such evil, may we find the hope that the birth of our Lord brought to us. Webster defines joy as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” Joy is not always the result of our present circumstances, but at the prospect or HOPE of what awaits us. Even in our pain and suffering, since Christ came, we are able to rejoice because YONDER BREAKS A NEW AND GLORIOUS MORN! LH
((Featured Picture from: http://creationrevolution.com/2011/12/the-angelic-proclamation-to-the-shepherds-2/)
(Many of the posts on this website are accompanied by a “Just Say Know” Bible Study broken up into 5 days. The Study is designed to take you no more than 10 minutes each day. For a printable copy of this Bible study, CLICK HERE.)
“Just Say Know” Bible Study
Sherpherds, Why This Jubilee? (Why Christians Rejoice)
Day 1 Read Acts 8:26-39
- Who did Philip meet?
- How did Philip help the man?
- Why was this man rejoicing?
Day 2 Read Luke 10:20, Revelation 20:15
- According to this scripture, why did Jesus say we should rejoice?
Day 3 Read Acts 8:4-8
- To what city did Philip go?
- Why did the people of this city rejoice?
- Have you ever seen the works of God?
- Describe them.
Day 4 Read Luke 1: 46-55
- List five things that made Mary rejoice.
Day 5 Read Zephaniah 3:14-17
- For what does God tell us to rejoice over in this passage?
- What are some other things that God has done for you that cause you to rejoice?
- How does the scripture say the Lord rejoices over you?
- What are some ways we can express our joy to God?