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Stealing Christmas:  Cheated by Happiness
December 16, 2018

Stealing Christmas: Cheated by Happiness

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Merry Christmas! May you find all the joys that this season was intended to bring! This is the question, isn’t it? We find ourselves struggling to find the joy of the season! In fact, at times, it seems to suck the joy out of our hearts! One of our problems is that we focus on happiness, rather than its more durable cousin, joy! In our series, Stealing Christmas, we consider the problem of being Cheated by Happiness. Certain things we base our happiness upon often leave us feeling empty, hollow and discontent. We may be disappointed by the gifts under the tree, the family interaction, or the feeling that we did not get it “just right.” As we come to this time of year, how does God want to give us joy? We return to Luke 1:57-68 with the birth of John to Zachariah and Elizabeth. The people around them wanted to name John after his father Zachariah but his father tells him, “His name is John!” At this moment he is filled with the Holy Spirit! This instance gives us insight to finding a joy beyond an empty happiness. As you read Luke 1:57-68 consider the things that may make you happy but that are barriers to a lasting joy! Luke 1:57-68 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. 59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, "No! He is to be called John." 61 They said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who has that name." 62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone's astonishment he wrote, "His name is John." 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, "What then is this child going to be?" For the Lord's hand was with him. 67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: 68 "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. (NIV)

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