WALKING THROUGH THE 25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
The angel announcing Jesus’ birth to shepherds in the environs of Bethlehem proclaimed the promise of joy not just for humanity in a general sense, but specifically to all people:
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”
THE PROPHETIC CONTEXT OF JOY
It is significant that joy had always been associated with the prophecies concerning Messiah. This is especially true in the Messianic prophecy communicated by Isaiah:
“For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation. Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isa. 12:2-3)
THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM AND JOY
Isaiah mentions joy more than two dozen times in relation to the Messianic Kingdom which is not merely a relative state of happiness or an era of comparatively good times, but truly a literal kingdom on the earth. This still future period of human history will be characterized by unbridled joy! In this context, Isaiah describes the dawning of the Messianic Age saying,
“You [God] have multiplied the nation and increased its joy; they rejoice before You according to the joy of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil” (Isa. 9:3).
Here, Isaiah reminds that the Messianic Kingdom will be a season of joy in the land of Israel. In biblical times, months spent working in the fields culminated in the harvest followed by a great celebration. Likewise, the Messianic Kingdom will be characterized by bountiful prosperity after millennia of deprivation and toil.
Next, in the same passage, it is important to note that while Jewish culture never celebrates war, Isaiah likens joy in Israel to the elation when spoils are distributed at the end of a conflict.
The Messianic Kingdom will be a time of great joy because Messiah’s supernatural deliverance of Israel will launch a 1,000 year period of unprecedented peace on earth (Isa. 9:4).
JOY IN OUR DAY-TO-DAY REALITY
Although we look forward to the literal fulfillment of the Messianic Kingdom as promised to Israel, people can experience a sampling of that joy today.
The apostle John clarifies,
“that which we have seen and heard we declare to you . . . And these things we write to you that your joy may be full” (1 Jn. 1:3-4).
People of faith can legitimately echo the words of King David:
“my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; It shall rejoice in His salvation” (Ps. 35:9).
The angel’s message of “good tidings of great joy,” was rooted in the fulfillment of God’s gift of redemption made available to all men through the person of Jesus Christ. Not only is He the “reason for the season,” Jesus is the source of joy associated with Christmas.
In the days leading up to our celebration of Christ’s birth, fill your heart and mind with gratitude for God’s wonderful gift; and then manifest a joyful spirit in the everyday realities of life to those in your sphere of influence!
1) Walking to church (c. 1853). By George Henry Durrie (1820–1863) [PD-US, PD-Art], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” (Angel to the Shepherds, 1879). By Carl Heinrich Bloch [PD-US, PD- Art], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. With 40 plus years of ministry experience, Rev. McCracken is known for authenticity in communicating biblical truth that makes his presentations relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author via Contact Form under ABOUT. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Categories: Walking Through the Days of Christmas