We are looking forward to lighting our third candle this week! We’ll be premiering the weekly devotional video at 6pm on Saturday and it will be available to watch here and on our YouTube channel. We hope to all light our third candle, the candle of Joy, together on Saturday, December 11th during the video at 6pm. However, if that time frame doesn’t work for you, that’s totally ok. The video will be available anytime after that! If you received one of our advent kits, you can follow along in your devotional book. If you didn’t get an advent kit, below you’ll find the scriptures, prayers, and some other tools to help you participate in Advent at home.
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
Psalm 51: 7-12
Almighty God, you have invited us to run toward joy, to endure for the sake of your joy, to weep now, knowing that joy is coming. Our joy, like yours, is found in a world set right. That joy does not come easily. It comes through labor pains. It is received through suffering. It is waited for with patience. We rejoice that Christ is making all thing new. We rejoice that, because Christ suffered, sin and death have been defeated. We rejoice in expectation of the great wedding feast. Forgive us for our tendency to complain and not rejoice. Deliver us from the temptation to become cynical and despondent. Help us discern between eternal joy and temporal pleasures. May our joy draw others to you. May our joy not be complete until all others share in the joy of your reconciling love.
• What do you think is the difference between happiness and joy?
• What is the source of your joy?
• How can we have JOY even in hard times?
• How have the hard times in your life helped you to recognize and experience joy?
After King David was swept up in sin, he was remorseful and cried out to God for forgiveness. He recognized that his sin and its consequences had robbed him if his joy. He cried out, “Restore to me the JOY of my salvation!”
• Do you remember when you first experienced the true joy that came with your salvation? Have you still found joy in knowing that you are saved and have been made right with God? Spend a few minutes thinking about your salvation. Think about who you might have been or how your life might be different if you hadn’t encountered the radical grace of Jesus. Allow the knowledge of your salvation to restore your joy today.
• Sin was the biggest issue that had robbed David of his joy. Is there an area of your life that you’ve been keeping from God or a sin that has kept joy at an arms length. Take some time for confession (either on your own or with your loved ones). Allow yourself to feel God’s forgiveness and spend some time thanking God for His grace.