And a lot has happened in the past week or so - a harbinger to the kind of year ahead? The major ones being the attack on several Malaysian churches over the court's decision in allowing the use of "Allah" by a Catholic newsletter to refer to God, and more devastatingly, the massive earthquake in Haiti that has brought much destruction to the lives of the people there.
I was preparing for bible study this evening and reading Leon Morris's NICNT commentary to the Gospel of John. This section on John 16:33 spoke very loudly:
"The world will infallibly bring them 'trouble'. That is its characteristic. But he can bid them 'take heart!' He had overcome the world, the perfect tense denoting an abiding victory. This statement, spoken as it is in the shadow of the cross, is audacious. The cross would seem to be Jesus' total defeat. He sees it as his complete victory over all that the world is and can do to him. He goes to the cross not in fear or in gloom, but as a conqueror." (Eerdmans, 1995, p.633)
It makes no sense to be joyful and yet we are called to rejoice in God. We can only do so if we look at our lives and live our lives through the cross of Christ. Without the work of Christ on the cross, we have nothing.
Therefore, rejoice! Take heart! He has overcome the world.