Today is the fifteenth day of Advent, the day we light the joy candle.
The first Sunday we lit the hope candle: finding hope in the midst of our circumstances, finding HOPE in the presence of Jesus. Then last Sunday we lit the peace candle: finding PEACE in the provision of Jesus, right in the middle of our imperfection, our striving and our chaotic life. We find peace knowing He is there, in the midst of it, offering rescue from our fear.
This week is about finding joy. Finding joy not because life is happy but because the Lord is near. We prepare this week by feeling joy. If we can’t feel it, we choose to remember we have been borne unto it. Jesus came, birthed into a dark and despairing world to bring glad tidings of great joy. Our longing has prepared us to believe that God’s reign is close at hand. Ache is not the last word for the believer.
No one can take away your joy; JOY has already been given unto us.
I write that and at the same time question it, because sometimes there is a person or a circumstance that seems to be stealing my joy. If I’m honest, sometimes I allow a person to stand between me and the joy God has given to me. The joy God intended for me, for you, with the birth and death of His only precious son.
JOY is what sets the believer apart from the unbeliever. It’s how people know we are different; the unexplainable joy that bubbles up out of an imperfect life. Do not let anyone steal your joy. Not a family member, an old acquaintance or a floundering friend.
Take back what is rightfully yours as a believer. Take your catastrophe and upend it to joy.
Let’s ask God every day this week: Lord, prepare our hearts, and remove any barriers that hinder us from feeling the hope and peace and JOY that your presence brings. In a sense, we light an inner candle every day this week that we might feel joy. That we might stop reflecting on the people and the circumstances and the schedules that leave us feeling chaotic and crazy, and instead focus on the hope and peace and joy we already have in Him. In His presence. In His perfection. In his promise.
He is joy. And He has given it unto us.
If you struggle finding joy, joy in the midst of your circumstances and stress and strain, this video might be what you need.
Today’s Challenge: Light the third candle, the Joy Candle.