Advent - the Season of Joy

Advent Week 3 
This week we light the second candle on the Advent wreath.
“We light this candle in peace; Jesus is our peace.”

Philippians 4:4-7
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Psalm 67
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, has blessed us.
May God continue to bless us;

let all the ends of the earth revere him.

It is easy to misunderstand joy. The depth of its meaning and its power to transform are often mistakenly replaced by the temporal pursuit of happiness. 
However, happiness is circumstantial and its effects are fleeting. Happiness is dependent upon experiences and outcomes. It is something we all desire, but it cannot be seen as an end in and of itself. If happiness is pursued as such it becomes something that can never fully satisfy and only leads to the pursuit of what's next.  

Joy, the joy of Advent, on the other hand, is transcendent. It is a gift. Joy is that which sustains us in spite of circumstance. It is not the fruit of our own labor. Joy is the very gift of the coming Christ Child. 

Here is the catch...
Joy calls us toward difficult things.  
Joy asks us to see the world differently; to live in our world differently.
Joy is yet another call for us to be "as if" people in a "not yet" and "maybe never" world; as if the promises of God are already true in a world that often either says these things have not yet come or may never exist. This kind of joy is a grand counter narrative.

As Advent people, may joy not only infuse all that we do, but may it become the root out of which our actions grow.

Sometime before next Sunday, consider what brings joy. 
Each day write a sentence about one of those things by answering these questions...
What is it that brings you joy?
Why does this bring you joy?
Think about some ways in which you might be an agent of joy in your house, your school, your place of employment, your world.

Christmas Benevolence
Shopping, shopping, and more shopping. Christmas Benevolence needs your help shopping with our neighbors. There are opportunities this week. And Delivery Day is Saturday, December 19.

Check out all of the opportunities to serve throughout December at


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