* This post is part of an Advent devotional being posted daily during Advent 2014. For an intro to this series of posts, please read the initial post here.
Third Sunday of Advent: December 14 – Everlasting Joy
Joy so often seems like one of those fairy tale illusions: an impossible legend of a life lived happily ever after. The contemporary narrative of our lives is a little more sobering and less dramatic. After we’re born, we go to school to get an education to get a good job to afford a decent life – all so that we can retire well and escape from work and responsibility for a few years before we die. Somewhere along the way, we might get married, have kids, and even live to see our grandkids, or if we are particularly blessed, our great-grandchildren. But for the most part, we settle for the trinkets of our culture: constant entertainment, exotic vacations, and weekend getaways.
We know almost nothing of the joy that springs from gratitude. We can barely fathom a joyfulness that deepens and matures in the presence of tragedy or provides strength to endure the unexpected trials that will come our way. Happiness born from stable circumstances or our pleasure-filled escapes from reality serve as substitute sweeteners. That deeper and more elusive joy seems to be little more than a rumor of a world so very different from our own. Where is the joy that will light our way?
Pause for a time of silent prayer.
God’s Response: Luke 1:67-80
(light three candles). We light these candles to remember that Jesus Christ is the light of the world. In his light, we receive the everlasting joy of God’s faithfulness. In Jesus Christ, God has set us free from the emotional slavery of our circumstances, so that we can delight in God’s goodness no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in. Even now, the Spirit is at work renewing within us (and within all of creation) an attentive wonder, watching and waiting with eager anticipation for what God is about to do. And soon, Jesus Christ will return, releasing a celebration like the world has never experienced before – so joyous that the mountains and hills will burst into song and the trees of the field will clap their hands. See the light of Jesus Christ is coming!
Come quickly, Lord Jesus, that the light of your life may fill us with everlasting joy as we anticipate your coming kingdom! Amen.