New Year

be joyful always

As greetings of “MERRY Christmas” and a “HAPPY New Year” are sown across the globe, not everyone is merry and happy. Because of the expectation that Christmas is a time of good cheer and all that is heartwarming, Christmas to some can be a poignant reminder of what is awry. Some may have lost a job, a loved one, good health, money, a relationship, an opportunity, a dream.

To such a person, I have this encouragement: Christmas is celebrated because of the coming of Christ Himself. Put aside images of a baby, torn flesh nailed to a wooden cross, a midget man with a satin dress and ball. Since Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven, He has been seated at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power, and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church (Eph 1:20b-22) ; He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Eph 3:20a). He was there before the Father created the world. (John 1:1-14) And no one comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6)

Christ is the great I AM. He is the wild card that compensates for what one lacks. He is the Good Shepherd in whom we shall not want (Psalm 23). In the state of weakness, He is our Strength. In the state of poverty, He is our Riches. In the state of defeat, He is our Victory. In the state of lack, He is our Provision. In the state of desperation He is our Hope. In the state of loneliness, He is our Joy. In the state of anxiety, He is our Peace.

1Thessalonians 5:16-18 says:
16 Be joyful always
“Be” means it is a continual state of choice.
“Joyful” means that it is not based on the happenstance or the circumstance of the moment which is a cause for happiness, but a state of joy in who God is, in what He can do, in the fact that He is not finished yet but still at work and even though people intend for evil what they do, God intends it for good (Gen 50:20) and in all things, He will work for the good of those who love Him. Paul’s encouragement to rejoice in the Lord always (Phil 4:4) was given at the time when he was in prison, surely, not a time of eating, drinking, and being merry. But Paul chose to be joyful and encourage the people who were not in prison to be joyful as well, to not let their peace be disturbed by the gravely troublesome circumstance of the moment.

Dear Lord,
Thank You for a new year, for life, for time, for our loved ones, for brethren in Christ who pray for us, for Yourself and Your love from which we can not be separated, for Your Son Jesus who took our sins upon Himself to rescue us from eternal death and destruction so we may have a chance to have eternal life. Thank You for joy that we can have despite unfortunate circumstances in life. Thank You for Your Word and Holy Spirit that encourage, guide, and transform us. Thank You for these unseen eternal gifts that can not compare to material gifts that thieves can steal, and rust can destroy. Thank You for giving us the best gifts for the New Year. You make all things new and in Christ, we are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come. Thank You for Your promises which are Yes in Christ in His name, amen.

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