It is only November but shopping malls ring with Christmas Carols. “Joy to the world the Lord has come!” But what exactly is joy? Is it happiness?
Let’s google some dictionaries to see how they define joy. The Oxford Learners Dictionaries says, “a feeling of great happiness”. Cambridge Dictionary says, “great happiness”, and the Oxford English Dictionary says, “a feeling of great happiness or pleasure.” Let’s see how the same dictionaries define happiness. Oxford Learners Dictionaries says happiness is “the state of feeling or showing pleasure”. The Cambridge Dictionary says, “the feeling of being pleased or happy”. And the Oxford English Dictionary says, “the quality or condition of being happy, deep pleasure”. The difference between the two states is that joy is “great happiness” whereas happiness is “showing pleasure”, “being pleased or happy”, and “deep pleasure”.
In Luke 2:10-11 we read: “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour which is Christ the Lord”. And this is not only joy but great joy and it is to the world.
May your Christmas be blessed with this great joy.
Pls see Menu at top of page for CHRISTMAS with info about how we can celebrate Christmas with music, a childrens’ play (PRAISE HIM!), poems and Cantata.
Revenge, unfortunately, is a natural human reaction to when we are hurt or maligned. Our adrenalin rushes to the fore as we punch back! The mother-in-law jokes we laugh at, are in many instances true, even those about Christian mothers-in-law.
The Bible has much to say about revenge and the people who took revenge. “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9 NIV). “Do not say, I’ll do this to them as they have done to me. I’ll pay them back for what they did.” (Prov 24:2 NIV). Our Lord Jesus said, “You have heard it was said, eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I tell you, do not resist any evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” (Matthew 5:38,39 NIV). “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate, when he suffered, he made no threats.” (1 Peter :21-23 NIV)
From the 1st century AD until in the 4th century AD, Christians in the Roman Empire were persecuted. This was purely political persecution, the act of taking revenge on their poltical opponents. Christians protested against, and did not take part in pagan beliefs such as sacrifices to the emperors who were revered as God.
From this time on, evangelical Christians have been persecuted for their beliefs, some of them by Roman Catholic popes, others by political leaders. Consider Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the renowned Lutheran Christian author, pastor and activist as well as a key founding member of the Confessing Church who fled to New York, only to decide to return to Nazi Germany to face imprisonment and martyrdom as well as Hitler’s malicious vengeance shortly before Germany’s defeat.
Finally, what does the Bible say of God Almighty’s opinion of revenge? “It is mine to avenge. I will repay. In due time their foot will slip, their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” (Deut 32:35 NIV). “Do not say I’ll pay you back for this wrong! Wait for the Lord and he will avenge you.” ( Prov 20:22 NIV).
Wait, be patient, and turn the other cheek as our Lord and Saviour taught.
God bless you