Advent 2015 - Indestructible Joy

Advent 2015 - Indestructible Joy

Central to the message of Christmas is an announcement of joy- great joy for all the people. However, in a season when joy should be known and celebrated, so many people experience just the opposite: Christmas stress, depression, and the heavy weight of life. Any ounce of joy can quickly get squashed in the harsh reality of the everyday. Humanity needs a lasting joy that comes from an untainted, outside source.

Amidst the darkness of the human story, the Christ child is born in Bethlehem but definitely not as any ordinary Jewish baby. Hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, God spoke through the prophet Isaiah to reveal the true identity of the Coming Child, the Messiah. Through his names, we learn his true identity, and we uncover the source of indestructible joy. He is the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. After spending much of 2015 talking about our name and identity, we come this Advent to re-discover His names which stand as bedrock to the eternal and indestructible joy that Jesus has come to bring. This Advent, may our joy be full.

"Little Lord Jesus" Colossians 1:15-20 (Advent 2015 - Indestructible Joy)

After a month of waiting and preparation, we are finally ready to light the last and final candle- the Christ candle. Through the birth of the Christ child, Jesus, God the Father has given the best and ultimate gift, the gift of His Son. He is the one who made all things and all things hold together by the word of His power. As the classic carol, "Away in a Manger" declares, He is the "Little Lord Jesus"- small but yet Lord. And He has come so that in everything He might be preeminent.

"Prince of Peace" Isaiah 9:6-7 (Advent 2015 - Indestructible Joy)

As we look at this last of the 4 names, we want to ask the questions: What is the peace that the Bible speaks of? And if God has promised peace – Where is it?

This week we will see that God’s promise of peace is the promise of Shalom – “The webbing together of God and man with all creation to create universal flourishing and wholeness.” And that the way to this peace, is through the prince. Who has come offering peace, but is returning soon with a sword.  

"Everlasting Father" Isaiah 9:6-7 (Advent 2015 - Indestructible Joy)

Bound by time and space, we wrestle with our past, our present, and our future. But there is One who transcends it all as the author and source of eternity. Not to be confused with the first person of the trinity, God the Father, the title of Jesus as the Everlasting Father points to the fact that He is the author of eternal life. He is the source of eternity for His creation. But to accept this title is to accept the scandalous reality about Jesus, us, and this present world. This Christmas we are invited to see ourselves and our lives through an eternal perspective. The invitation is to live, truly live, in Him. Enter His Realm.

"Mighty God" Isaiah 9:6-7 (Advent 2015 - Indestructible Joy)

The depth of joy springs ultimately from right relationship with the Creator.  He is truly the Mighty God and it is only when we are fully submitted to His power and authority that our joy is made complete.  But what does the “Mighty God” look like?  How is his might and power expressed on earth?  When His authority is displayed, when His mighty voice speaks, how do we respond?

"Wonderful Counselor" Isaiah 9:1-7 (Advent 2015 - Indestructible Joy)

Part of the joy erosion in our life stems from the internal confusion that plagues the minds of humanity. Among the many voices, competing allegiances and the old ways of sin, we need what only the Wonderful Counselor can bring. But His strategy is counter-cultural. Heed His Counsel.