Good morning: "Doesn’t God want me to be happy?” asked someone struggling with a problem which didn’t have a quick or easy solution. In this case following God’s will would, according to the person’s thinking, prevent them from being happy. Have you wondered too whether God truly wants you to be happy? He tells us in His Word to rejoice. Psalm 100 says, “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” But then why does God send difficulties into our lives. Why doesn’t He make life easier? Why does He allow a pandemic to sweep across the country? Why do believers have terminal illnesses, get laid off, and suffer from loneliness? Where’s the joy? God truly does want you to be happy, happier than anything on earth can make you, happy for all eternity. That kind of joy has only one source. Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4). The angel told the shepherds of Bethlehem, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:10-11). What many people think of as happiness is the temporary joy of earthly circumstances: a good day at work or an unexpected Christmas present. We thank God for them too. But deep down lasting joy which is unaffected by the ups and downs of daily life is found in Jesus. In Him alone we have forgiveness of sins and peace with God. Jesus overcame death and the devil that we might look forward to the day when He comes to take us home, where there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. In the meantime He promises to be at our side always and to make all things, even the things which are hard and painful, serve for our lasting joy. That doesn’t mean we will always be smiling, but we always have reason for optimism and confidence. How can we doubt it when God’s own Son came and sacrificed Himself on the cross for us? No matter what lies ahead today, be sure. God wants you to be happy. Listen to Him in His Word. Trust His Christmas promises of comfort for every trial, peace in every conflict, and joy in Christ Jesus for every circumstance. Rejoice in the Lord always! Yours in Christ, Pastor Service times tomorrow are 8:00 and 10:45 a.m. Christmas Eve rehearsal is at 9:30 a.m. The adult Bible class will meet in the multipurpose room. We’ll continue our study of Luther’s Large Catechism. Here is the link for service signup: https://tinyurl.com/y2j5r8sn Signing up for the Sunday service by 6 p.m. Saturday is appreciated and helpful and a way of showing Christian love for one another. It gives the Elders and ushers an idea of how many people to prepare for. When you sign up you can also see how full the service will be, and if you wish, consider attending the other service. By signing up, you can easily be informed if that were advisable because of contact with someone at the service who later became ill. The governor’s mask order is still in effect for all indoor spaces, including churches. Masks are available in the entry if you forget yours.