“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
~ Romans 15:13
Have you watched the joyful anticipation in the eyes of a small child the night before Christmas as they await Santa Claus to leave their gifts under the tree? As a witness to this excitement, a person cannot help but catch some of the same joy in their own heart.
Each year as my family would drag out the treasured Christmas decorations from the basement of our home, the angel for the top of the tree would be just a little more disheveled than the year before. The red bows that would hang in each window with their lights shining brightly would appear to be more wrinkled than the previous year. However, to me as a child, they were more beautiful than ever before, and the joyful anticipation to decorate our home for Christmas was indescribable.
Today is the third Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of joy! Webster's dictionary describes joy as: “the emotion of great delight, or happiness caused by something good or satisfying”.
The Israelites experienced joyful anticipation and encouragement in the Old Testament when the Lord spoke through the prophet Isaiah and the following was foretold: “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, the young woman who is unmarried and a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (God with us).”
Joy for Christians today can be exuberant because of God's fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy concerning the birth of Jesus. In the Book of Matthew the prophecy was quoted and later fulfilled. Matthew states: an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, and the angel told him the following: “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. ...and she (Mary) will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All of this happened to fulfill the Lord's message through his prophet...”(NLT).
As we observe busy people rushing around in the mall, the grocery store, or at work we may notice their faces are often rigid, and it does not radiate the joyfulness of the Christmas season.
As a Christian are you joyfully anticipating the celebrating of the Birth of Jesus? Is your face radiating joy when you are among others in the mall, the grocery store, at home, or at work? Are you glowing with joy as you are placing your time-honored Christmas decorations in your home? If you are not reflecting joy to others, ask God to restore the “joy of your salvation”, and He will do it! Paul told us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 to “always be joyful”.
A prayer for you on the third Advent Sunday. In Colossians 1:11-12, Paul prayed the following: “...that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father.” Amen.
~ Ann Brock Ludington