Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sunday, December 14th - Four Words of Advent: JOY

What is Christian joy? Jesus has come to give us joy. What does the word "joy" mean in a world where our joy is determined by our things, our successes, and our careers?  Joy for so many of us is determined by our circumstances. If things are going good then we have joy and if they are bad we have no joy.

What we discover in the New Testament is that God's joy is tangible in all circumstances and places. I look at Paul's letter to the Phillipians. Paul's joy is palpable. He didn't write this letter from a lofty resort but from a lonely prison cell. How could Paul have so much joy? I feel like my life is falling apart if I leave my house with out my cell phone.

What becomes clear is that we seek joy in all the wrong places. We choose to put our trust in finite things: our careers, our things, our successes. These things bring us joy. Jesus wants to bring us joy that is bigger than these finite realities.

The shepherds when they saw Jesus for the first time went away glorifying and praising God. My first thought is that they went away celebrating what they "saw". The more I have pondered their response I believe their joyful response was instead in the significance of what this baby would mean for generations to come.

This joy Christ has come to give us is ours to embrace no matter the circumstances. My Aunt wrote me the best Christmas card I have ever received. She said, "a hundred years from now people will not care about the car you drove, the house you lived, the job you had, and they might not even know your name... but rest assured that what happened two thousand years ago will still be making an impact." This gives me joy. This ushers me to keep serving Jesus with a renewed fervor.