Tuesday 18 December // My Joy
Looking back at the description of joy from Sunday and its place in the Advent story, over the next five days we want to create space for you to reflect on what this might look like in the different arenas of life. Feel free to re-watch the video’, re-read any of the scripture verses referenced or look back at what you’ve written on your Advent calendar as many times this week as is helpful to you.
Joy is possibly the deepest, most common motivator of all people in all times. Humans will go to great lengths for what they perceive to be joy, for happiness. But often we miss the big picture of joy for the instant gratification of happiness.
The overarching descriptions of joy in both the Old and New Testaments capture the reality that the joy of God’s people is not determined by their struggles, but by their future destiny. As C.S. Lewis says “Joy is a by-product. It’s very existence pre-supposes that you desire not it, but something other or outer.”
The Christmas carol “Joy to the World” encapsulates the scriptural truth that joy on earth is found by receiving the King of Heaven. Biblical joy is about placing your hope in the realities of what is yet to come. Joy is simply the signpost that points us to Jesus (Alison Tiemeyer).
The shepherds and Mary both knew how to prepare their hearts and make room for a King and Kingdom that promises and holds eternal joy within the realities of life’s struggles.
Paul believed the gift of God’s Spirit was a sign that Jesus’ presence is with us inspiring hope in the midst of hardship. And when you believe that Jesus’ love has overcome death itself, joy becomes reasonable in the darkest of circumstances.
This doesn’t mean you ignore or suppress your sorrow. That’s not healthy or necessary. Paul often expressed his grief about missing loved ones or losing friends or his own freedom. He called this “being full of sorrow, and yet rejoicing.” As he acknowledged his pain, he also made a choice to trust Jesus, that his loss wouldn’t be the final word.
How are you preparing your heart and making room for Jesus to be Lord of your life? What ways are you rejoicing this Advent?
Read: Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit
Pray: Thank God for His great mercy and the living hope we have in Jesus. Ask God to increase your awareness and desire for eternity.
Respond: On your Advent calendar colour in today’s bauble, you might also like to include a scripture reference or note what God is speaking to you about through this story