Rejoice in the Lord always. And I will say it again: Rejoice! The Lord is near! Philippians 4, 4, 5b
The apostle Paul calls Christians to rejoice. Can you be happy, “by just pushing a button”? And you may also wonder: What does faith in Jesus Christ has to do with my feelings?
Certainly, feelings are part of our lives! They shape our lives. We all know nice feelings, feelings of love and happiness. We also know negative feelings, such as fear and worry. Sadness. Helplessness. Negative feelings can paralyze us. Beautiful emotions inspire us, give strength to our soul: love and happiness, trust and security.
The Gospels also talk a lot about feelings. About people like you and I, people in flesh and blood, with a heart and with emotions. I think of the disciples on the lake who were screaming out of fear with their downfall in mind: "Master," they were screaming to Jesus, "we're going under!". Or I think of the brave women on Easter morning who were not afraid of the grave. And I remember Mary, Jesus´s mother. She rejoices joyfully, "With all my heart I praise the Lord, and I am glad because of God my Savior” (Lk 1:46). An unmarried young woman looks forward to her child!
Joy is the theme at Christmas. The saying of the week reminds us with joy to remember the Lord´s birth. Many Christmas carols sing about it. Christmas without this happy music is unthinkable for me.
But the apostle Paul, who admonishes us for joy, does not look back to the birth of Jesus in the stable of Bethlehem. He looks ahead rather. He can see Christ´s return on the horizon of world history. The reformer Martin Luther said: this will be our second future. A second future awaits us Christians! The first future began with the birth of Jesus. Since then, every human being can have a future with God. Those who come to Jesus Christ today and adore him and ask for new life, forgiveness of guilt, have a future with God. If you are gifted with new life by Jesus Christ, you have a future perspective. This is a big reason to enjoy!
The second future is eternal life which the risen Jesus Christ will give us. He who lives with the Savior has an eternal future in heaven. If that is no reason to be happy!
Double joy wants to shape our lives. The joy that God became man in Jesus Christ. That Jesus finally defeated death on Easter morning. And the joy of having a second future with God in heaven.
"Joy to the world! The Lord is come; let earth receive her king. Let ev'ry heart prepare him room" is a world-famous Christmas carol. Many Christians sing this song of joy these days. I wish you too that you can join in this worldwide Christmas joy! That you allow joy. The joy passes by if we do not make a room for the Lord Jesus. If we do not allow the door to open, as did the many innkeepers, who which Mary and Joseph sought in vain for a place (Luke 2). Joy comes only when we are open to this joy! If we open the gates wide! I wish you the joy of Christ comes to you. And stay with you.