by Joe Alain

This content is part of a series.

The Gift of Joy (3 of 4)
Series: The Gifts of Christmas
Joe Alain
Romans 5:2b-4

The third message in a series of four Advent sermons (''The Gifts of Christmas'') based on the blessings of salvation that the believer receives as described in Romans 5:1-5.

If you were to ask the average person on the street what is the most joyful time of the year? No doubt most people would say that Christmas is the most joyful time of the year. One of the Christmas carols you will hear everywhere this season is entitled, ''It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.'' The title of our Christmas presentation this year reminds us that Christmas is the ''Season of Joy.''

In 1719 Isaac Watts wrote the hymn, ''Joy to the World,'' a Christmas song that we sang a few moments ago in worship. ''Joy to the World'' is Isaac Watts' interpretation of Psalm 98:4, NKJV, which says: ''Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.'' As he read Psalm 98, Isaac pondered the real reason for shouting joyfully to the Lord - the Messiah has come to redeem us. In the first verse of that hymn it is announced that ''the Lord is come.'' Interestingly, there is no mention of Joseph and Mary or angels or shepherds, or wise men. Yet, it is one of our most beloved carols because it really captures the essence of Christmas, which is joy.

Watts was right you know. ''The Lord is come,'' and His coming means ''Joy to the World.'' James Merritt reminds us that this joy is not just joy to America, it's not a national joy. It's not joy to the rich, it's not a financial joy. It's not joy to the educated, it's not an intellectual joy. It's not joy to the happy, it's not an emotional joy. It's not joy to the healthy, it's not a physical joy. It is ''joy to the world,'' it is universal joy!

This joy surrounded the first coming of Christ. The angels sang joyfully as they welcomed His birth, ''Glory to God in the highest'' (Lk. 2:14). The shepherds too praised ...

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