“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”1 Thessalonians 5:18
Joy echoes across every stage of the Christmas story. John the Baptist jumped for joy in his mother’s womb. Elizabeth says in Luke 1:44, “When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy.” The angel announced good news of great joy to the shepherds in Luke 2:10. And when the wise men “saw the star, they were filled with joy” according to Matthew 2:10.
There’s even an acronym that helps us to practice joy.
First, you keep Jesus in the forefront of your thoughts, then others, and finally yourself. Scripture evens shares with us God’s recipe for JOY! Let’s look at a few verses and note three things that are repeated.
Philippians 4:4-7 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving; let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
And 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says,“Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Did you see it? Rejoice, pray, and give thanks. Combine these words with J-O-Y and we get a wonderful recipe for joy!
Rejoice over Jesus. Take time and focus your thoughts on who Christ is and all He has done for you.
Pray for others. Take your eyes off your own circumstances and place your focus on praying for others and their circumstances.
Give thanks. Follow the instructions in this wonderful hymn and make time to “Count your blessings; name them one by one.” By doing this, you will place focus on all that you have and not on what you don’t have or may have lost. The formula is simple:
Rejoice + Pray + Give Thanks = JOY
As Paul said to the Thessalonians, “For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” God desires to bring His joy into our lives through a personal relationship with Jesus! He is with us –Emmanuel!