There was only one problem ... I didn't come away joyful ... or at least I thought I didn't. You see, my true joy has been in Jesus for the last 11 years. By His grace, after praying to accept the Lord, my life has radically changed. So, you would think I would know better than to be bummed out after Sunday's service, catching myself thinking about family "issues" that often seem to sprout around Christmas.
Nevermind that Warren produced a "Saddleback Spa" type setting, replacing the pulpit with falling snow flakes in a beautiful forested setting shown in a looping video on a large screen TV behind him. Warren, who was joined by his associate pastor, worship leader and a virtuoso guitarist, and seated on comfy leather chairs, purposefully wanted his audience to relax ... and get joyful.
I knew I was in the right place at the right time Sunday ... so, it wasn't a question of wanting to be elswhere. I just found myself asking, "Where's the joy?"
Later, I went about my business, meeting with my parents for breakfast, and having an okay day ... but, I prayed a lot. Yeah, sure, I intellectually know that my true joy is in the Lord, but I don't always feel joy. I was doin' a bit of the Christmas blues dance Sunday.
It wasn't until Monday morning that my spirit was really uplifted. I read from one of my daily devotionals ... and although everything certainly is not right with the world, I can again feel the joy we all so desperately want to feel. Like Warren said Sunday, "I've got news for you, life isn't fair, but there is one who can bring you joy no matter what. That one is Jesus."
Sometimes, I might add, joy comes in a simple message.
Here's the devotion that I read this morning in Charles F. Stanley's God's Way, Day by Day:
Our Best Friend
No longer do I call you servants, ... but I have called you friends. -- John 15:15
"All who call Jesus Savior and Lord are invited to be His friend.
What kind of friend is Jesus? He is the best friend you will ever have. He does for us what no one else can do, He helps us in ways no one else can help us, and He loves us as no one else can ever love us.
We may have difficulty seeing Jesus as our Friend, but Jesus doesn't have any difficulty seeing us that way."
Can I hear an "Amen"?