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Dec 15 2014

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Advent 2014: Joy

Advent Joy

Joy

We continue to enjoy the Thriving Family’s Advent Activity Calendar . To provide a little variety, we have, at times, had everyone say the special phrase for the day. (My five-year-old has started to ask me ahead of time what the phrase was before we started.) To provide more consistency, we have a schedule on who gets to put up the next character. Our little poster is quickly getting filled.

The third candle of advent is joy. We read from Luke 2. Here is just a small portion:

but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.

Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. (‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭10, 34‬ NLT)

What is joy?

Defining words makes a difference. Joy is one word that has a variety of meanings to different people and within various contexts. I wrote for Five Minute Friday about joy. Ah, the joy of motherhood. That kind of joy is a rich joy that runs deeper than the pleasures of the moment.

Then, there is the joy of Jesus in Hebrews:

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭12‬:‭2‬ NLT)

That is big vision joy. Motherhood joy is a joy that finds so much pleasure in the life of her children. It costs a mom to have and raise children, but most moms find the sacrifices insignificant in comparison to the joy found in seeing her children grow and thrive. (Not that I have a continuous flow of happy, happy feelings throughout my mothering years. On a day-to-day basis, joy is not my constant state. Some days—hard days—I wonder if God knew what He was doing in entrusting me, me!, with their care because I felt so overwhelmed. But when I have a brief moment to breathe—and a nice cup of tea—I feel that big picture joy for my children.) Jesus has an even bigger picture of joy than any mother. His is bigger because His joy is found in eternal life for all of us who believe.

As we read Luke 2, the Bible refers to the word joy twice. Both times, it concerned people who were outside of the Jewish people. There is “all people” and “many others.” I am part of that group. The great news that brings me joy is in salvation for everyone. Jesus came to save not just His people, the Jews. He came to redeem the world. Jesus found joy in providing salvation to anyone in the world who would believe in Him. I find joy in resting in that salvation.

One day, my joy will be complete when I enter eternity. Joy will be complete because my salvation will be complete. No more sorrow and no more pain. No more sin. We celebrate His first coming—along with all the joy it brings. We look forward to His second coming—and discover with joy really looks like without the shackles of our own sin nature and living in a sin-sick world. It’s hard to image that kind of joy. Oh, to have a vision for the joy that awaits.

Resources for advent?

Thriving Family’s Advent Calendar has Bible reading and familyacitivies.

YouVersion has many Christmas related devotionals and Bible reading plans.

This year, my church is doing an advent focused message leading up to Christmas.

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