This Sunday is when churches and Christians typically celebrate the 3rd Sunday of Advent which is on the theme of joy. As I write this today, many of us may be struggling to feel joyful. And I find myself asking the question, how can any of us focus on joy right now in the midst of so much chaos?
What exactly is joy? It’s certainly more than just happiness which can seem so fleeting and fickle depending on our circumstances.
The two most joyous moments of my life were the days my children were born. To see them for the first time was overwhelming and the feelings it produced were far beyond simply being happy. Yet it wasn't without difficulty, certainly for my wife. It was 9 months of discomfort and health complications, followed by intense pain. There were these moments of panic about future failings, the ability to be a good parent, the financial burden of raising children. Yet that moment when we held our children for the first time, nothing could diminish or overshadow the intense joy we had in holding and seeing them. It was this immediate connection and anticipation of our future together. It was the responsibility of nurturing another’s life and the excitement of building our family. It was the eagerness of walking through those moments of their future successes and being a comforting shoulder when they were inevitably faced with disappointment.
You see our happiness was beyond our immediate circumstances and worry about the future. It became joy because it transcended those thoughts and feelings. It became joy because of the anticipation of a better and more abundant tomorrow.
It is that same darkness of circumstances and worry about the future that was present for mankind at the birth of Jesus. It was God's plan that through the birth of His Son that we would be reconciled in our relationship with God. He was sent to bring peace to our souls and secure for us an everlasting future and hope of Heaven. It's that relationship with Jesus, with God, that we are able to walk through the darkness with joy. Today is temporary, tomorrow is eternal.
As we walk through the darkness of today, we can find Joy in Jesus and celebrate His birth this season.
"I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life" - John 8:12
I pray that you will choose to find joy in Christ this Christmas season.
Sean Morton, Worship Director