Monday, December 16, 2013

The Third Candle: Anticipating Joy

This week, we anticipate joy.

When the Son of Man came to this world, he brought with him joy. The angels knew it. When the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds, the angel told them, "Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11). After that, the whole host of angels began to sing!

The shepherds then went to see the baby, there in the manger, wrapped up just as the angel had described. They were so awed by what they had seen that they left the manger glorifying and praising God. The shepherds, these ordinary men, were the first on earth to spread the joyful news of Jesus' birth.

Jesus' birth brought great joy, not just for his family, not just for the Jews, but for everyone. Christ came for us to live full lives, lives of abundance (John 10:10). He came so that we could be "fill[ed] with all joy and peace in believing" (Romans 15:13). 

For some people however, Christmas is not a joyous occasion. They are highly stressed at work, far away from family, or are reminded of the loss of one or more of their loved ones. These are the ones often forgotten in our celebrations. This year, let's share the joy of our Savior with those who are unhappy, forgotten, or lonely. Let us infect them with the abundance of joy that we have from knowing Jesus. Let us remind them that the joy of the Lord is our strength, is their strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Let us use our ordinary lives to spread the joyful news of Jesus' coming to earth.

Joy is here. Share him.

Let us light the candle of joy in our hearts, keeping it alight, for we know that God fills us.

Be blessed and shine with the light of joy!

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A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word! -Prov 15:23