SUNDAY 16 December // the true meaning of ‘Joy’
Welcome to the week of joy. When you think about joy what first comes to mind? How does the word make you feel?
This week we explore what true hope looks like and what we are invited into. Let’s start by watching a video from the Bible Project which gives us a great overview of the biblical concept of joy…
What makes the many biblical words for “joy” interesting is noticing the kinds of things that bring happiness and also seeing how “joy” is a key theme that runs through the whole story of the Bible.
On page one of the Bible, God says that this world is “very good,” and so naturally people find joy in beautiful and good things of life. However, human history isn’t just a joy-fest. The biblical story shows how we live in a world that’s been corrupted by our own selfishness. It’s marked by death and loss, and this is where biblical faith offers a unique perspective on joy.
Joy is an attitude God’s people adopt, not because of happy circumstances, but because of their hope in God’s love and promise.
Read: Jeremiah 33:10-11 (AMP)
“Thus says the Lord, ‘Yet again there will be heard in this place of which you say, “It is a [desolate] waste, without man and without animal”—even in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without animal— the [sound of the] voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the [song-filled] voice of those who say, “Give praise and thanks to the Lord of hosts, For the Lord is good; For His [steadfast] lovingkindness (mercy) endures forever”; and of those who bring a thank offering into the house of the Lord. For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were at first,’ says the Lord.
Pray: Thank God for the places you have seen/can see His goodness, steadfast loving-kindness and mercy. Ask God to shape your perspective from that focus.
Respond: On your Advent calendar colour in today’s bauble, you might also like to include what ‘joy’ means to you, a scripture reference. or note what stood out to you about the true meaning of joy.