This is week four of our advent celebration. This week we light the candle of joy.
This week I’ve been blessed to witness a lot of intense happiness. I attended the wedding of one of my nieces in northern Florida. Her happiness was radiantly obvious as she walked down the aisle. My sister–in-law was incredibly happy to see the end result of her love filled efforts to provide the perfect wedding day for her daughter. We spent time with loved ones, enjoyed special holiday treats and exchanged some gifts. It was truly a happy time.
Upon our return home Sunday we stopped and picked up a special Christmas surprise we had pre-arranged for our son, an adorable puppy. Our son was so happy! So was the puppy as she quickly snuggled against her new owner’s neck. There were so many reasons to be happy I could not begin to list them all!
Happiness can be fleeting. The newlywed couple will no doubt always love each other, but they may not always be happy. My sister-in-law may find her happiness fall away as she sorts through the aftermath of the wedding events. And the puppy…well, let’s just say it is inevitable that we will not be happy with her from time to time. She is adorable, but has already decided our Christmas tree skirt is a good blanket and pine needles are fun to chew on. I was definitely not happy to find her dragging one of my shoes around the house.
It is easy to confuse happiness with joy. Unlike happiness, JOY is not fleeting
Joy is the result of God’s gifts of hope, peace and love. We have hope for eternity in heaven because God sent His son. We have peace on earth because through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we are reconciled with God through forgiveness of our sin. We know true love because it is God’s love for us, full of grace and mercy, which provides a way for forgiveness through His son Jesus Christ. Because of all this we can experience JOY.
Joy is not rooted in circumstance; therefore circumstances cannot take it away. It is the praise on the lips of a woman whose marriage is in crisis. Joy is the smile of an exhausted single mother ushering her daughters into adulthood. Joy is the song of one who is hurting. Joy is kindness bestowed on those who do not deserve it. Joy is the sound of laughter among a family filled with diversity and walking through adversity.
Joy is not determined by how things are in our life. It is determined by Who we have in our hearts.
This week allow yourself to experience the JOY of the Lord, His gift to us wrapped in the tapestry of hope, love and peace found lying in a manger.
“…behold, I bring you good news of a great JOY, which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord….” Luke 2:10&11