Child of Joy

The anticipation of Christmas builds throughout the year, especially after Thanksgiving. The joy of family, annual traditions, festivities, gifts, savory foods, etc. is a real thing for many of us. Past memories bring delight as well as the thought of making new ones. But with any holiday season, there is the potential for unrealized expectations and misplaced priorities. We may feel disappointment over missing out on some experience, dinner plans not coming together, or a difficult family member creating conflict. If we aren’t careful, we condition ourselves to believe that a joyous Christmas is bound up in the experience, gifts, plans, or even people. The irony is, that Christmas is the season that revolves around the greatest joy known to man. But sadly, this “great joy” who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10) becomes a cliche and is trivialized to the point of mere lip service. As you prepare your heart for celebrating Advent this year, consider the true and lasting joy that only God provides in the person of Jesus Christ. Isaiah 9:3 likens this “increased gladness” to that of a bountiful harvest. But why? Does that not sound materialist and trivial in some way? Not at all. The joy of harvest speaks to realized survival, sustenance, and satisfaction. It is the farmer’s livelihood. Without a bountiful harvest, one’s existence is threatened. What God accomplished in the Incarnation fulfills our greatest need, giving us cause for great joy. Not only are needs met, but as David describes in Psalm 16, God provides “pleasures forever more.” Let the joy of Advent cause you to rejoice and “increase your gladness”, not because of seasonal delights, but because of lasting rewards that are found only in Christ. –Pastor Nate

Sunday at Liberty

9AM: Can There Be Hope in Death?–1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

10AM: Pastor Rory–Child of Joy–Isaiah 9:3/Psalm 16 (sermon notes)

6PM: Evening Gathering–Good News of Great Joy–Luke 2:10-11

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