Joy at Christmas- let's look at the 4th Sunday Of Advent's special meaning

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays are ways we all express greetings to one another during Christmas. But merry and happy don’t really adequately express the true feeling we should be experiencing during this season! Of course, it’s not bad to wish people a merry or happy Christmas but the emotion behind those two words fall so short of what God wants us to experience. Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent. Today, let’s ponder on the true meaning of joy at Christmas.


I think we should first define joy. 

John Piper gives the best definition of joy I have heard… 

Joy is a good feeling in the soul produced by the Holy Spirit as He causes us to see the beauty of Jesus in the Word and in His works.

This is really the most succinct and complete definition I have ever heard and is one worth remembering! Let’s dissect this definition and get a good look at true joy!

First of all, joy is a feeling… an emotion! It does not come from our bodies but from our soul. Our soul is the invisible part of what makes you and me, you and me.  It comes from our mind, will, emotion and intellect.

Often emotions are manifested or shown forth through our bodies. 

A good movie can make me cry. But not just cry… ugly cry! I’m the person you don’t want to be sitting next to in a movie theater during a movie like Hacksaw Ridge or Unbroken or It’s A Wonderful Life. The tears and tissues fly!

My body does not cause crying, it’s my emotions of sadness or happiness or wonder that causes crying. My body just shows the emotion I am feeling.

So joy is an emotion! A good feeling produced by the Holy Spirit.  That tells us a whole lot! Joy is not produced by humans. It is a special emotion that comes from the Holy Spirit. Actually, it is one of the “fruits” or outward signs produced by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.


Joy is a special emotion only produced when we are connected to the Holy Spirit.

But why is it so special? Because it is an emotion reserved for us when through the Holy Spirit we see the beauty of just who Jesus is! Oh, the joy! Exactly!

We can all feel happiness but joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit. 

And how do we see the beauty of Jesus? Through His Word and work. Through the Bible and the world around us. 

2 Timothy 3:16 says… 


You can know Jesus by reading His Word. One of the Holy Spirit’s jobs in our lives is to take the Word of God and illuminate it so that we can understand it. If you are indwelled with the Holy Spirit He is showing you Jesus by helping you understand God’s Word. The Bible is all about pointing to Jesus! From the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation the Bible speaks of Jesus!

Can you see how important it is to not only read God’s Word but study and meditate on it?

You can also see Jesus in his works. His creation!  The Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see Jesus everywhere in His creation. Through people and through nature!  If we look for Jesus we can find Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes!

So let’s pull this all together again. Joy is a good feeling in our souls produced by the Holy Spirit as He causes us to see the beauty of Jesus in His Word and in His works.

Joy is what we are celebrating this last of Advent. Joy is what we are to ask the Holy Spirit for. 


We don’t have time here to put this verse into proper context. But in a nutshell, even in bad times knowing who God truly is, and what God can do, and that He will accomplish what He says He will do will strengthen us. When we see just who Jesus is and what He has done for us already we will be strengthened.


It’s okay to wish someone merry or happy. But this season is really all about finding JOY!

Jesus, God in the flesh, came down from heaven to all sinful mankind to pay for our sins on a cross and repair our broken relationship with God bringing us in right standing with Him so we can live eternally with Him in heaven.  Salvation is a free gift. We don’t have to work for it. We have to believe in Jesus and His saving work with our whole hearts. 

Now that is JOY! And joy is worthy of celebrating this Advent!

Scripture memory verses this week:


May your Christmas be filled with J-O-Y!

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  1. God’s Blessings to you and your family on this most Holy Day!

  2. Beautiful! You shared JOY so well….and I love the Bible verse! May you find JOY this Christmas!! Thank you for all you do & all you share! Blessings to you and your family this holiday !

  3. So inspiring, thank you! Wishing all much JOY as we celebrate our Savior’s birth!

  4. As I sit in Church , on this fourth Sunday in Advent, I will ponder these scriptures. A blessed holiday season to all.

  5. Thank you for posting today. I needed it. Most joyous wishes to you and your family.

  6. Joy in my soul comes most during the candle light service when the only sound you hear are the voices singing about that wonderful night our Saviour was born. The lights are lowered and the candle light reminds us that Jesus is truly the Light of the world!

  7. Merry Christmas, thank you for Sunday studies. Do you have any books or daily devotions? I love your teachings

  8. Amen. Wishing you and yours the most blessed and joyful Christmas ever.

  9. That is so true, Yvonne! The JOY of the Lord is my strength! This year has been really tough on my family physically and at times mentally. My husband and I have both had hospital and ER visits and quite a few things have gone wrong with our house causing some hefty financial issues we weren’t prepared for. Due to my medication and just the sheer stress of it all, I didn’t handle it well and cried out to God where are you? But then I realized that HE was there all the time carrying and lifting me up through my family and friends and HIS word! Even though we went through trials, HE was teaching to lean on HIM every step of the way. God has blessed us so much! My husband retired from the police force, my daughter just gave birth to our first grandbaby, and we are well and happy going into 2018. Thank you for sharing the JOY of the Holy Spirit! Have a JOYOUS Christmas!

  10. I am being filled with joy by the Holy Spirit as I anticipate the glorious celebration of our Savior’s birth! Blessings to you and yours , Yvonne, as the Love ? of the 4th Sunday of Advent fills our hearts! Yes

  11. Yvonne, I thoroughly enjoy your posts about decor and ideas to make my home prettier, but when you write about our Lord and our faith, it speaks to my heart and soul. Please don’t ever stop posting these encouraging thoughts. Our extended family has been struggling with joy this year. John Piper’s definition is perfect, and will be displayed in our home to remind us. Thank you for sharing.

  12. I have read the “fruits of the spirit” verse (Gal. 5:22) a million times – it hangs on my wall near my kitchen. Why have I never really noticed “joy”? It truly is a gift from the Holy Spirit! It’s not “created” by me – my extroversion – my friendliness – my bubbly personality – but a gift from God! Sounds so simple, yet this speaks to me today! Thank you! Merry Christmas! <3

  13. Theresa at Winterberry Lane says:

    Love and Joy to you and your family this holiday season. I loved your post today on the Joy of Christmas and it’s meaning. This is a special time of the year to share the Joy with family and friends. We celebrated our Joy with family yesterday. And our four year old grandson told the christmas story of baby Jesus birth and why we celebrate Christmas. He brought joy and happiness to us all.

  14. Thank you for sharing the JOY that our Lord brings to those who know and love Him!

  15. joanne hotchkiss says:

    So wonderfully put. Blessings to you and your family. On our way to Denver for a Clark Griswald Christmas vacation! 10 of us together for 5 days. Can’t wait.

  16. Denise Sandy-Sanchez says:


    Much joy to you! I recently came across your blog and have been blessed to not only have decorating tips but most importantly to be connected to you through our love for Jesus! I connect to your explanation of JOY. This year is the first year we will be celebrating Christmas without our children. I texted them and showed a picture of their annual ornament. Each word I typed generated tears of joy and hope for them, for us, and for the world. Thank you for everything you do to feed the many aspect and complexities of who we are and who we strive to be. Thank you for recognizing the most precious Gift, Jesus!

    1. Hi Denise. I know how hard that is. I too have been there. I pray that you can get together soon and celebrate Christmas with them.

  17. Love, peace and joy to you and yours!

  18. I so agree with Babette, though I enjoy your posts , the devotionals are my favorite. I have been feeling sad as I read about people celebrating Christmas with no mention why we celebrate. With Jesus as our Savior we truly have a reason for a celebration of Joy unspeakable! A Merry and blessed Christmas to you and your family.
    P.S. I hope you do write a daily devotional book someday!

    1. I was at Christmas Eve church tonight with my whole family. And we were singing Christmas Carols and I was so overcome with JOY!!! Tears of joy streamed down my face as I praised my LORD with my family! Just a peek at heaven.

  19. Love your blog about finding joy in Christmas and Jesus!! Peace and joy to you and your family!!

  20. Yvonne, it seems there are many variations of Advent, with different words for each of the Sunday’s leading up to Christmas? Do you know if there is a definitive source as to which words are the correct ones? Thanks. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  21. Norma Rolader says:

    WOW!!!! What a beautiful message !!! Thank you for such awesome blessing with this message!!! God bless and wishing you and your family a blessed Merry Christmas of J-O-Y

  22. Julie Briones says:

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, Yvonne. Thanks for sharing Piper’s definition. Love how much he loves our Lord!

  23. Denise Carlson says:

    Joy to you and your family! I love your blog and everything you post. Have a joyful Christmas.
    Thanks, Denise

  24. Wonderful message for this time of the year. A blessed Christmas to you

  25. Yvonne,
    Thanks for helping us understand the J O Y of the Lord. I enjoy your Sunday lessons so much. I wish you peace and J O Y for the coming year.

  26. Yvonne Boyer says:

    What you shared is so true. Being saved is the only thing that matters being made right with God and adopted into his family. I don’t know about you but I’m listening for the trumpet call of God to meet the Lord in the air! I’m glad I found your blog. Your sister in Christ Jesus.

  27. JOY to your and yours this CHRISTmas season!

  28. Thank you, Yvonne. I am ever grateful to you for this joyful post! I needed to read and ponder these words today, perhaps more than any other of the busy days before Christmas. I got up this morning feeling anxious and fretting over all of the “things” I had yet to accomplish before Christmas Day. I read this and realized I wasn’t thinking about JOY! Joy is the reason for the most important Christmas preparation, the preparation of our hearts for unspeakable joy. It is not felt by purchasing presents, gift wrapping, baking and meal planning…it is found only in the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Nothing in this world can compete with the joy we find in Him, especially on the day of his birth.

  29. Cecilia from Georgia says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful message. God bless you and your family with JOY and a safe holiday season. My grandson is in the Navy and home from Japan and I am over the moon! God is good!

  30. Roz Bradford says:

    Yvonne, Praying blessings of joy be showered upon you and your family this Christmas season and all year through. Good inspirational this week. Thank the Father for His unfailing love for us through Jesus, our Savior and Lord, and for the Holy Spirit who brings comfort, peace and joy!

  31. Donna B Oliphint says:

    Such a beautiful post! Wishing you a very merry, happy and JOYFUL Christmas! Thank you for sharing the beauty of your life and home.

  32. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful message with me. You have taught me so much over the years and I thank you so very much. Have a joyous Christmas.

  33. La Rue Grantham says:

    Thank you for your wonderful blog today. I agree that we need all of the gifts from God. I especially want love, peace and JOY in my soul.

  34. Connie Vance says:

    I look forward to daily inspirations.