The Significance of Christmas for the Believer’s Joy

In the book of Philippians, Paul builds a pathway to joy for the believer. Joy is the product of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus is the source of joy and the provision for the forgiveness of our sins. Other religions teach that you never really know if your sins are forgiven. However, the Bible tells us we can know full assurance of forgiveness. We can know that we are born again. That is the gateway for joy.

We have a role to play in understanding and experiencing assurance. We have the ability to make our joy soar. It all begins with the event of Christmas: the epitome of our joy.

Christmas Prescription

A prescription is an authoritative recommendation of some action. In Philippians 2:2, Paul is commanding the Philippian believers to make his joy complete and to fill to its fullest. This goes beyond what he can experience on his own. Complete joy is the property of a company of believers together. This cannot be the property of a single individual living on their own in the world.

Paul echoes Jesus’ words about love found throughout the books of John, 1 John, and 2 John. In verse 1, we see that the Holy Spirit is the direct agent of joy. We have the opportunity to be the hands and feet of the Holy Spirit to bring our mutual joy to the highest height possible.

The acrostic SAME (Spirit, Affection, Mind, Energy) helps us remember how to encourage each other with joy. We have the same attitude with each other through the Holy Spirit, the same love, the same mind, and the same energy by being intent on one purpose. The message of Christmas necessitates this.

Christmas Proscription

Proscription means the act of forbidding something. There are some things we need to be wary of in order to have our joy soar.

In verse 4, Paul reminds us to not just look out for our own interest. This empty conceit and selfishness is a threat to joy. It means to be motivated for things that are not in line with the single intent given by the Spirit. Conceit is walking in excessive pride, but the center of our lives cannot be “I” and “me.” The Lord Jesus Christ is the focal point of the church.

Instead, make it your mission to regard others more important than yourself. We must never neglect the needs of life for our family, health, and survival. However, our emphasis must be that we are not the center or the most important. This is the point of the spiritual gifts - to use them to help each other’s joy soar.

Christmas Point of View

The Lord Jesus humbled Himself by coming to earth to be a man. In verses 5-11, we see the point of view of the Christmas story as seen from heaven. The expression of humility by the Lord Jesus Christ serves as the pattern for everyone in the local New Testament church.

Application Points

There are four observations we can note from this:

  • The attitude of humility is the product of things you cannot naturally grasp on your own. You can only grasp this attitude and follow the pattern that Jesus gives us by being a diligent student of God’s Word - not just in acknowledging God’s Word, but desiring God through it.
  • The attitude of humility is the product of how we apprehend our rights. Jesus had a genuine right as the God of heaven, but He set aside His rights and the use of His attributes. What do you perceive to be your rights? Can you follow Jesus’ example of setting them aside? Joy will soar when believers are working hard at setting aside those rights.
  • Humility is observed first in actions. Jesus showed humility by what He did. Humility energizes soaring joy when we are doing things that are humble, not just speaking about being humble.
  • Humility is replicated by giving up self. Jesus entrusted Himself to the will of the Father. Stop entrusting yourself to your spouse, your children, your government, or any other entity. Are you fully entrusting yourself, your circumstances, your hopes, and your family to the will of the Father?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:
  • John 3:29
  • John 15:11
  • John 16:24
  • John 17:13
  • 1 John 1:4
  • 2 John 12
  • Daniel 5:11
  • Phil 4:7
  • Galatians 5:22-23