Read Nehemiah 8:1-12 and look at its focus on joy: “...the joy of the LORD is your strength.” - verse 10
“...the people went their way...to make great rejoicing...” - verse 12
The joy of the Lord is your strength. What is the joy of the Lord? What brings joy to the Lord? The Lord’s joy is that we know Him as Savior - that we understand the reason for His Advent and accept it for ourselves.
Luke declares, “...there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” - 15:10
Where are the angels? They are with the Lord. So who is rejoicing in the presence of the angels? It’s the Lord!
When we accept the Babe of Bethlehem as our Savior, the Lord rejoices! And in Him we find strength for our journey. Moses learned this through the Exodus and rejoiced. “The Lord is my strength . . . He has become my salvation.” - Exodus 15:2
A fresh encounter with the Word of God leads to rejoicing. In Ezra’s day, it was the reading and hearing of the Torah - the written Word. At the birth of Jesus, the shepherds in the fields heard the Good News of great joy - the Word was now alive! Today, we can read with understanding the written Word and personally encounter the Living Word. We are doubly blessed! What reasons to “make great rejoicing”!
Encounter the Word this Christmas!
By Jennifer Campbell, Burkesville First UMC, South Central District