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Return of the King - Advent 2016

December 20, 2016 – Christ Brings Joy

“Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.'”
– Luke 1:39-45

The Powerful Presence of Jesus

Throughout his life, Jesus’ presence had an effect on people. His words stopped people in their tracks. His touch healed. And when he walked into town, people flocked to him. But his magnetic nature didn’t begin with his ministry. Jesus had an impact on people from his conception.

A mere greeting caused Elizabeth to shout for joy. And Jesus’ presence didn’t just cause Elizabeth to rejoice, the unborn John the Baptist leapt for joy as well. This is a small picture of what Jesus does whenever he enters a life.

Too many people look at Christianity as something that’s primarily concerned about what happens when we die. They view it as a kind of ‘fire insurance.’ But Jesus doesn’t just want to provide a life after death. He wants people to experience true life right now.

Christ Brings Joy

When Jesus really becomes part of our life, he transforms us. He changes our hopes and aspirations, breaks down and reshapes our words and actions, and chisels our attitudes to reflect his own. And he shows us what real peace, joy, hope, and love look like. This is what Jesus’ presence does.

Joy filled Elizabeth’s heart because she knew that this unborn baby was the fulfillment of all of God’s promises. What a joy to know that the King of kings had come to visit!

But even more extraordinary than that is one of Jesus’  final promises to his disciples. He told them, “If I go, I will send [the Holy Spirit] to you” (John 16:7). This is the Spirit of Christ (See Romans 8:9). The presence of God has come to abide – or live – with us.

And just as his presence gave Elizabeth joy, he still gives joy today. Even when we walk through difficult times, we can rejoice, knowing that he is faithful to his word. We can still rejoice that he is the fulfillment of all of God’s promises.

Christmas is almost here. Don’t get so caught up in the preparations that you miss the presence.

For it’s only in his presence that you’ll find real joy.

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