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Good News - Broward Edition
22 December 2013
Jeremy McKeen
Good News
One of the most popular
Christmas anthems is “Joy to the
World.” But how in the world is
joy possible? Literally, how in
this world that is filled with such
sorrow and pain do you
experience true joy? Do you just
need to pretend that bad things
haven’t happened or won’t
happen? Just try and ignore the
pain or avoid the pain? In this
world of great suffering, where
do Christians get off with talking
about the goodness of God and
the joy of life? Has Jesus really
brought joy to the world? And if
so, how? That’s the question that
needs to be answered. Because
the popular understanding of
Christianity is that it is anti-joy.
It’s nothing but dos and don’ts.
People think, “I want to have
fun. I want to experience life
with a capital “L”, but I won’t be
able to do that if I’m a Christian.”
Christianity as something that
hinders your joy, not as the one
thing that can bring you joy. So
what is the joy of Christianity?
A realistic joy
The first thing a person
must understand is that the joy
Jesus brings the world is very
realistic. On the night before
Jesus was crucified, he told his
disciples, “You will weep and be
sorrowful, but your sorrow will
turn into joy.” Jesus doesn’t ask
you to pretend that suffering
doesn’t exist; he asks you to look
at the suffering in a different
way. Jesus gives the example of a
woman going through labor
pains. The pain is real, but
there’s something that happens
that changes everything - the
outcome of the pain. When that
little baby is presented to the
mother, the pain is not
exchanged for joy; the pain is
literally transformed into joy
because the mother holding the
baby in her arms sees what all
the pain was for. She sees that
the pain was worth it. The very
cause of her sorrow becomes the
very cause of her joy.
It’s the same thing with the
death of Jesus. It caused him and
his disciples great pain and
sorrow, but now the cross is
celebrated across the world.
Why? Because you see its
purpose. The sufferings of
Christ have brought about
eternal life for all those who will
believe in him. The cause of the
sorrow has been turned into the
cause of joy. This is the type of
joy that Jesus offers you. It’s the
joy of knowing that no sorrow or
loss is ever senseless. God will
not come to you with a
consolation prize that hopefully
makes up for the suffering you
experience in life. No, he will
show you the perfect purpose
for all the suffering so that the
tragedy is actually transformed
into triumph. Christian joy is
not the absence of sadness or
sorrow; it’s the absence of
despair and discontentment.
A constant joy
Jesus also told his followers
that “your hearts will rejoice and
no one will take your joy from
you.” The joy of Christianity is a
constant joy as compared to the
unstable joy that the world
offers. For example, here is a
father at Disney World waiting
with his little girl to see Minnie
Mouse. Minnie is signing
autographs and taking pictures
with the kids and this father’s
little girl can’t wait to meet her.
So they wait in line for several
minutes, and then just when
they get to the front of the line, a
security guard comes up and
says, “Sorry folks, Minnie has got
a show to do”, and she is taken
away. You see, that is the best
Joy to the World
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