GOD VIEW: THE CONNECTION BETWEEN JOY AND GOD’S CHARACTER, AS SHOWN THROUGH GOD’S BIG STORY. JOY IS FINDING A WAY TO BE HAPPY, EVEN WHEN THINGS DON’T GO YOUR WAY.
We kick off December with some Old Testament prophesies found in Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 53:8, and Micah 5:2. The story of Christmas begins with promises God made long before. God’s people had been waiting for hundreds of years, but all of that was about to change. We take a look at important promises that pointed to Jesus.
Bottom Line: You can have joy because God keeps His promises. Sometimes it’s hard to find joy in the middle of a tough situation. Thankfully, when we look through the Bible, we can see that God has always been at work. Knowing that God faithfully kept His promises in the past can give us joy knowing that He’ll be with us in the future.
In week two, we head to Luke 1:5-25; 57-80 where we find Zechariah and Elizabeth. They were unable to have children. On top of that, they were older and it seemed impossible that they’d ever have a child of their own. But one day an angel came to Zechariah and told him that he would indeed have a son, and that son would prepare the way for the Promised One, Jesus. Zechariah and Elizabeth learned that anything is possible with God.
Bottom Line: You can have joy because anything is possible with God. We will face some difficult moments throughout our lives. But no matter what we face, we can find joy because God can do anything. He may still allow us to go through whatever we’re facing, but He’ll be with us and will give us what we need to get through it.
We continue the story of Christmas in Luke 1:26-56. The Messiah had been promised for generations, but no one would have guessed that God would use a young woman to bring that promise to fulfillment— including that young woman herself. Mary was awestruck when the angel came to announce that she was about to have a child who would be the Savior of the world. She finds joy, trusting that God is up to something bigger than she could have possibly imagined.
Bottom Line: You can have joy because God is with you. Our circumstances do not have to determine how joyful we feel. We may not be happy about what is happening, but joy goes beyond happiness as it is rooted in our trust that God will carry us through whatever we face.
In Luke 2:1-20, we read that God didn’t announce Jesus’ birth to kings or government officials. Rather, He sent an angel choir to announce this news to a bunch of shepherds on a hillside. The shepherds ran to find Jesus, where they worshipped Him. They were so full of joy that made sure to tell everyone what they saw when they left.
Bottom Line: You can have joy because God sent His Son. Christmas is the perfect time to talk about joy. God’s people had waited so long for God to send the Savior. When Jesus was born, the shepherds knew they need to celebrate big. We pray that the kids in your ministry will do the same when they remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas.
In Matthew 2:1-12, we see how the announcement of Jesus’ birth was far-reaching. Wise men from the East saw a star that set them on an adventure to find a promised King of Israel. When they finally found Jesus, they worshipped Him as king. God protected Jesus and the Wise Men from Herod’s plot to kill Jesus.
Bottom Line: You can find joy when you search for God. When we believe that Jesus is the promised One sent from God to rescue us from our sins, we become part of God’s story. That story isn’t something we can keep to ourselves. It’s a story we need to share with everyone.