Today is the third Sunday of Advent – we celebrate the gift of joy.
Joy and happiness are not the same. Joy is deeper. Joy is lasting. Joy comes from our souls not from our sense of humor.
The joy that comes from Lord is different from anything else we can know. Nehemiah said that the “joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10b). God gave to us the way of salvation; and that knowledge that we are saved brings unbelievable joy. That joy gives strength to our souls, our hearts, our minds and our future. What joy it is to know that our sins are forgiven and forgotten.
The joy from the Lord can be ours in spite of our circumstances: “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.” (Psalm 25:5-6)
God’s joy can be ours when we are in harm’s way: “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.” (Luke 6:22-23)
The joy from the Lord is shared when we praise Him: “My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you—I whom you have delivered.” (Psalm 71:23)
As we approach Christmas, the day of celebration, we should prepare our hearts. On the first Sunday of Advent we considered hope and last week we talked of the love of God.
Today, our hearts sing with joy. Christ came to earth; he was the fulfillment of hope and the demonstration of love.
We are redeemed!! How can we not be filled with joy?