Joy: Greater than Happiness
My absolute favorite Christmas movie is Elf.
And I know you thought I would say Miracle on 34th Street are you know A Christmas Story or Christmas Carol or Die Hard? My absolute favorite Christmas movie is Elf and I was we watched it on Friday night cuz we always watch it Christmas time and and we are watching I was trying to figure out why I like this movie so much and part of its because it's funny. I really like the humor in that book part of it. Is this unbreakable. Joy that the Buddy the elf seems to have you just can't breaking everything comes out of him and he's just so full of joy and that Joy is based on something and it isn't based on his immediate circumstance. It's based on the reality that he knows about that other people don't He has this Christmas spirit that he talks about him and he talks about Santa and he talks about all the things are happening in North Pole and he is ecstatic and everybody else is just kind of existing any any any any it permeates the sending decorates and he does all these wonderful things. He runs into a coffee shop and he goes congratulations you didn't I'm so proud of you and then ended up being a crappy cup of coffee as we found it. Later. I want you to understand something Joy is not the same as happiness. In fact, I dare suggest to you that that the joy is greater than happiness happiness will talk about in the moment is his is based on a whole lot of things.
Okay, nevermind. I'm good. I'm like my whole sermon is gone, but it's not so things like It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. And let's face it Christmas is often time stressful for us adults a man. Sometimes it's in it. Sometimes it's filled with intense loneliness crushing grief because of a loved one who is gone and even at its best Christmas Means Party Supply & Gifts to buy elaborate meals to cook long trips to take out of town guests to host instead of bringing Joy Christmas oftentimes brings the exact opposite. It brings frustration. There was a story about a woman who was doing a last-minute Christmas shopping at a crowded Mall. She was tired and fight tired of fighting crowd. She was tired of standing in line. She was tired of fighting your way down. I was looking for a gift that have been sold out days before her arms are full of bulky packages when the elevator doors opened and it was full. The occupants of the elevator grudgingly tighten the ranks to allow this small space for her and her load as the doors closed. She blurted out whoever is responsible for this whole Christmas thing ought to be strung up and shot a few others nodded their heads and grumbled and others grumbled in agreement then from somewhere in the back of the elevator came a single voice that said, don't worry they already crucified him.
Unfortunately many people leave Chris Christ out of Christmas instead of looking to Jesus people look to Joy anywhere and everywhere else, but Donna wants that was asked if she was a happy person and she says actually I'm a tormented person. I'm wrestling a lot of demons. I want to be happy. I have moments of happiness. I am working to what I'm working towards knowing myself and I assume that will bring me happiness pretty much everybody wants happiness. In fact people do what they do for the purpose of finding happiness. You work hard to buy possessions that will make you happy you look for happiness and entertainment Hobby Sports passions various addictions or like Madonna, you look deep deep within yourself thinking maybe that's where that elusive happiness thing lies. When you consider that happiness seems to be the main goal. It seems surprising that the Bible doesn't talk much about happiness at all. The Bible says a lot about something that is often confused with happiness. The Bible says a lot about a word called Joy this kind of Joy the Bible talks about goes much deeper than their happiness. You see happiness deals with what is happening and happiness depends on circumstances and fact most people happiness is nothing more than a temporary Interruption of boredom. We've all heard kids complain. I'm bored. That means I want some happiness and I'm not finding it. Genuine Joy on the other hand does not depend on what's Happening Joe is an inner sense of well-being that has nothing to do with circumstances the kind of Joy the Bible describes can't be found in possessions or entertainment or even looking deeply into our inner self. The first line of the song Joy to the World sums it up. There is one reason and one reason only that we find joy in this world and as the song says it's because the Lord Has Come genuine Joy only comes from finding Christ. If you receive Christ of the king of her life, he provides a joy in the same way that your body craves food exercise and rest your spirit craves relationship with God without the relationship your soul can become famished and restless and fact there's this huge god-shaped hole in your everyday life. And if you look deeply within yourself happiness is not what you'll find. What you'll find is a space that only God can fill if we try to fill it with anything besides God, we will find herself constantly and completely dissatisfied and so can you imagine the Shepherds as they were standing in their field and the angels come along and says do not be afraid I bring you good news that will cause great. Joy for all the people. Can you imagine being in that in that out in the wilderness? Can you imagine that moment when the angel appears and your first reaction is Terror and their responses Joy. I bring you good noise good news that will bring joy for who for not just you guys but for everybody everywhere, I have a story to tell and he didn't they go on and say today is in the town of David a savior has been born to you. He is Messiah the Lord. This will be a sign to you will find a babe a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger and I love this part cuz kind of the crescendo moment suddenly a great company of heavenly host appeared with the angel praising God and saying glory to God in the highest and on Earth peace on those to those who find who is favored on home is favored rest. I need us to understand that it all starts in this moment in time that the real Joy starts with the recognition of the Incarnation. Our Savior Jesus Christ Christmas morning when you think about the gifts you're giving the most important thing you can think about isn't what somebody gave you on this in this life, but what Christ has given you for your life and that is the key to real Joy. True Joy comes when we focus on the Eternal instead of the temporal. There's a passage in Scripture. That seems out of place and Philippians is my favorite. Literally my favorite chapter in the Bible is Philippians chapter 4 and Paul says rejoice in the lord always and again I say rejoice Let your gentleness be evident off handle. Paul says Rejoice where? When how he gives us the phrase right there? In the Lord in the Lord, he's like rejoice in the Lord. This is the key to it all rejoice in the Lord because if you're going to try and find your joy in any other Avenue of life, if you're going to try and find your joy in your children or your spouse if you're going to try and find her joy and all of these these blessings that God has given you and you don't recognize that. These are a flow from God you're going to miss Joy because your spouse is going to disappoint you your children are going to betray you kind of Go back to the evil from last week. I talked about except chance chances like What's that? Anyway, what we need to understand is when Paul says rejoice in the lord always he's giving you the key there. He saying keep your self centered in the Lord and what you will recognize is that everything has a purpose. Everything is leading us somewhere. Everything is taking us on a path. Everything is taking us on a journey and we'll talk more about that. But focus on what is eternal this was the key. the elf Is he focused on something that wasn't in front of him? He focused on something that was just his reality which brings me to my next statement, which is true Joy is about truth. True Joy is wrapped up in truth went when James says consider. It pure joy my brothers and sisters when You Face Trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. This is a truly say and look when you find yourself, press when you find yourself really in those real trial times of your life. Don't focus on the trial focus on what God is doing in the trial. And then you find joy. You see what happens in that Christmas story that we love so much is that what God transcends all that separated man from himself and he tore down every barrier there was by sending his son to pay the price so that we can have a relationship with him and that's now reality. This is truth. And so when when James has consider it pure joy, the only way that's possible we are fools if we don't realize that the Lord has to be in the center of this, you know, we would look really stupid if in the middle of getting hit over the head or just like this is great. That's not what he say anything consider it pure joy because this testing of your faith is producing and you something that is greater and of Eternal consequence not immediate consequence. And so it goes on and in my final Point believe it or not, but I don't believe it cuz there's another one out of Hebrews 12 and I'm going to I'm going to finish that text. He says that the Jesus fixing our eyes on Jesus the Pioneer and Perfecter of our faith for the joy set before him in other words when he kept him so focused on what God is doing he was able to endure even the cross. How powerful is this? You see when you get so tunnel vision in the what the immediate is. We don't focus on what the Eternal is. We're not empowered because we're not recognizing that God is doing a mighty work and that might work will do a mighty work not just in our lives, but that will spread Beyond too many other lies. Your joy is infectious. People want what you have when you're filled with joy.
finally true Joy remembers who's in charge? Cuz I want to leave you with this and Danny Danny kind of mention this this morning. You need to realize that on this Earth. Satan is in charge. But in all reality the spiritual reality controls everything God is in charge nothing happens outside of his purview. Nothing happens without his his his allowance of it. God is there in fact, that's why he can make a statement like this one of my favorite statements and all scripture is is this one it says we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love and are called according his purpose. He can only make that statement if he's running the show and if he's running the show you have reason to have joy because God is Not intending to harm you but to bless you God is Not intending to tear you down. But the Build You Up God's intent for your life is for you to become everything. He made you to be and then for you being everything you were made to be to become whatever one in this world needs you to be lights and salt in this world and your joy will help people see that your hope will bring people to that your love will blow position people for that and the piece you experience will talk about next week. I don't know how long I went but that is my sermon how long ago I went for over 16 minutes. Terrible, let's pray. But father I hope it was worth it father God. I thank you so much that you have blessed us beyond what we can imagine or hope or dream or the day you've given us every blessing every spiritual blessing that we can wanton father help us in this season of of chaos for us to recognize that you brought what was chaotic in the order that you brought what was crazy in in into into crazy. Love them. I just pray father that we celebrate that that we Embrace that and that we we Remain the rest of the season filled with the joy that only comes from you the hope that is in you and the love that that it flows from you through us and then you bring peace. I pray this in Jesus name and all of God's people said Plus.