We’re having a bit of Advent in our family this December. Our youngest daughter is close to delivering our youngest grandchild and we are excited for many reasons. There’s something about new life, a brand-new life, that that causes wonder and awe. I look at my daughter, who looks about ready to “pop” and think of Mary on that donkey at about the same place in her pregnancy. I think of Mary’s journey to Bethlehem on that donkey and wonder at her strength and commitment to her God and her husband.
This morning I light the joy candle and rejoice in the truth that God loved me so much, He gave His best. To just think that all of this universe, and any beyond, that He has power over, and more that He could even create, could have been given to us to try again and again to get this right. To say no to that deceiving serpent, but He knew we wouldn’t. He gives us opportunities day after day to be obedient and we fail. No. We needed a Savior that could make us righteous, we could never do it ourselves. And only His Son would do.
I light the joy candle and rejoice that His mercy lasts forever. His grace never stops. His love never fails. When you practice being joyful (Galatians 5:22) you can put all the struggles, the trials, the pains and disappointments we experience in life here underneath it. They are not the most important things. They are the things that drive you to Your Savior for help, and that is a good thing. Anything that causes us to realize that this life is not under our control and authority is a good thing when we use it as an opportunity to pray more, study His Word more, worship Him more and look forward more to His return. If we do these holy practices, He rewards us with His presence and in His presence is “fullness of joy.” (Psalm 16:11)
“Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
I light the joy candle and rejoice, not that I stake all my faith that He actually came into our world on the date of December 25th, but because He did actually, really, come to be with us in human form. (Isaiah 7:14) God came to be with us. More than just touched by all that touches us, but wounded and crucified by it. He was able to endure this because of the power of joy.
Hebrews 12:2 says:
“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
So, light a candle of joy in your heart today. Choose joy, not because everything is going the way you hoped and prayed it would, but because God loves you and knows that you need joy in your journey to your expected end. (Jeremiah 29:11-13 KJV) Call on Him, seek Him more and more this season, following the example of those wise men in Matthew, chapter 2, who “rejoiced with exceeding great joy” (verse 10).
Have a Joyful Merry Christmas!