An Un-Advent-ful World: Joy

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'” Luke 2:10-11

In this Advent series, we are looking at the themes of Advent as they are represented in the tradition of lighting the Advent candles: hope, love, joy and peace.

Joy is one of those words that rarely sees use in everyday conversation. Joy isn’t the go-to word for most people talking at the coffee shop or chatting around the office. People use words like ‘happy,’ ‘excited,’ ‘ecstatic’ but rarely ‘joy.’

The word joy is used over 200 times in the Bible but just looking at the times it is used in the New Testament, we find joy attached to a variety of events/attitudes/things:

  • The good news of the gospel brings joy (Luke 2:10-11).
  • Finding the kingdom of God brings joy (Matthew 13:44).
  • Being hated, ostracized and scorned because of Jesus brings joy (Luke 6:22-23).
  • Doing the work of Jesus brings joy (Luke 10:17).
  • Having your name recorded in heaven brings joy (Luke 10:20).
  • Seeing a sinner repent brings joy (Luke 15:10).
  • One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy (Galatians 5:22).
  • We should consider it joy when we face trials (James 1:22).
  • Jesus endured the cross because of the joy that would follow (Hebrews 12:2).

That is just a small sampling of how joy is used through the New Testament. When the angel announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, it announced news that was to bring great joy to all people- every person and every people group. This was to occur because Jesus, the Messiah, had been born. In an un-advent-ful world, we may still be able to find joy but we are going to find joy in different places than what the biblical writers tell us. In an un-advent-ful world we will find joy in the things that bring pleasure, in things that are temporary or in things that bring excitement.

We may catch glimpses of more in the joy of a child or the joy of a beautiful sunset or the joy seeing a great work of art but in Advent we are able to experience everything as joy because we have the person of joy. In the coming of Jesus joy become more than a feeling or an emotion, joy become a person. We are able to experience everything as joy because we have Jesus, the person of joy, with us in and through everything.

When we see Jesus and when we have Jesus, we have a joy that can never be taken away (John 16:22).

 

 

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