Infinite Joy

“This Christmas may your holiday joy be shaped and colored by remembering that you have eternal reason for joy because of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of your humble, willing, suffering Savior.”  – Tripp, Paul David. Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional (Kindle Locations 786-788). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

 

Yesterday’s message was an emotional one. I have a lot of passion for people (myself included) to not miss out on the joy Jesus offers to us. Relative to that, there are two topics to further cover which didn’t fit in the message as it was.

First, let me speak to those who are or have been or might ever be depressed, sad or downtrodden now, during the Christmas season or any season in your life. I have been a pastor long enough to field the question, “If I am depressed am I still a Christian?” Yes. That’s the short answer. Sadness, even depression are human emotions and therefore not outside of our experience as Christians. Psalm 6 is a great Scripture to reflect on if you disagree- there David loosely says, “Tears have been my food day and night.” David, the man after God’s own heart. So, yeah we can be depressed, sad, down and be very much believers in Jesus. The two are not mutually exclusive. If you are struggling in this way, get help. Please. Seek counsel, get around friends, find people who will journey with you. Depression is complex and sometime a chemical imbalance in the brain. Do what depressed people often feel least like doing- get help. And please, don’t let the Enemy of your soul or your well-intentioned but misinformed friends tell you that you cannot be depressed and a Christian.

Second, I want to state that for me, the joy of Jesus, held out in the Gospel is a passion for me because I’ve experienced it. What pains me is that so many believe something less than the Gospel and what Jesus promises (Life to the full) and as a result, they become disenchanted when everything doesn’t go ‘great’ for them. I just saw the hashtags from a sermon yesterday “choose joy.” I don’t know the context so I’m not going to go to crazy but, the Gospel isn’t some New Age thought replacement therapy. It’s that Joy choose you, because Jesus choose you. It’s you and I laying our whole lives, wrecked as they are at the Savior’s feet and then finding in exchange life eternal. It’s life to the full but not the ‘American Dream.’ It’s the King Himself that is promised to us. And He is our joy because He is our Savior.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. – Jude 1:24-25 ESV