We are looking forward to lighting our third candle this week, the candle of Joy, together on Sunday, December 17th.
― 249 A.D
I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels. – Isaiah 61:10 NLT
Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior–yes, the Messiah, the Lord–has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! – Luke 2:9-11 NLT
8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. – 1 Peter 1:8 NLT
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
This time of year, we look for joy in Christmas lights and the traditions that we observe. We associate joy with festive food and drink and of course presents! These all can produce a temporary happiness which lasts as long as the activities creating it. But when the tree comes down and the presents are put away, that happiness fades.
Joy is different. Joy isn’t produced by us or anything around us. Joy is produced in us through the Holy Spirit of God and it is anchored in the hope of our salvation: Jesus’ victory over sin and death. This joy is available to the believer in any circumstance. It defies logic because we can be joyful in all things, not because of, but despite our circumstances. The joy of the Lord is our strength, and will be forever.
Almighty God, you have invited us to partake of your joy, To let your love and the salvation You offer fill us to overflowing with joy. Our joy is found in a hope of eternity in your presence. We rejoice that Christ is making all things new. We rejoice that, because Christ suffered, sin and death have been defeated. Help us discern between eternal joy and temporal pleasures. May our joy draw others to you. Lord strengthen us with your joy so that we will not succumb to the darkness of the world, but like the shepherds, open our eyes to the radiance of your glory so that we can be bearers of the joy and Good News that the Messiah has come!