These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Tis the season to be merry! Why? Because we celebrate Christmas; the coming of the historical man called Jesus. But you would be forgiven if you associate Jesus with anything but merriment.
Almost every painting of Jesus I’ve ever seen is sombre, serious, a man of suffering. It’s not only art, its theology too. Well known and someone who I hugely respect (but disagree with on this point) G. K Chesterton writes:
“There was one thing that was far too great for God to show us when he walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was his mirth”.
It’s this false picture of Dr. Spark like Jesus, walking around serious, emotionless, answering everyone’s questions all the time that cause many people to think that going to church is the same as going to the doctor.
But Jesus said “I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you” it therefore must matter to us how happy Jesus was (John 15:11). He was a man familiar with suffering, but not a gloomy emo. There is a kind of superficial happiness that has never known suffering. Then there’s a victorious joy that shines through the eyes of someone who has passed the sanctifying tests of suffering. If his joy is going to be in me and apparently make my joy “full” then I want to know just how happy he was (John 15:11).
Here’s what the Bible says about Jesus.
“I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence”
Jesus possessed an eternal joy as he has always been at the side of his Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus has always been happy and he is happy now. God is in a good mood!
“… therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions”
Jesus is the happiest person who has ever lived! No one has been happier.
And David said about him:
“‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.‘
Jesus possessed an indestructible joy, a joy that not even death could taint.
Jesus was actually a really fun guy to be around. That’s why all the dodgy people invited him to their parties. They liked hanging out with him, because he was happy. He was filled with joy and when they spent time with him their joy increased too.
Christmas may be a tough time for you, but there is a priceless gift of joy that awaits us this Christmas; Jesus. Jesus calls us to be filled with his eternal, indestructible and matchless joy through (1) believing that he is the “way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6), (2) asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit (John 14:18) and (3) by drawing near to him through daily devotion in prayer and Bible study (John 15). Wishing all my readers a merry Christmas in Christ Jesus the Lord!