All year long we wait for the season of Advent, anticipating the celebration of the arrival of Jesus. During the weeks of Advent, we are pleased to offer a devotional reflection that draws on the four themes of Advent: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. We hope you’ll be encouraged and reminded of the God who is with us, Emmanuel. In addition, we invite you to support the work of CCDA, and hope you’ll consider giving generously during this season.
December 13: Joy
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:4-7
The words of Philippians are a great reminder of rejoicing. Scripture reminds us that the Lord is near, and in his nearness, we can find great joy and peace. We may experience seasons of grief, discontent, anxiety and unrest. Much of our experience of happiness is dependent on the fullness of our lives, expectations, and success. What Jesus invites us into is a deep-seated joy that leads us to rejoicing in the Lord always. The joy of the Lord is not circumstantial but stirs us toward a posture of celebrating, thanksgiving, and praise that moves beyond our understanding. Joy also moves us to share our rejoicing with others, collectively and communally celebrating.
It has been a year of losses for many people. Our families, neighborhoods, churches, nation, and world have known heartache and tragedy. We continue to mourn these losses and the systems of injustice and oppression that grieve us collectively. Yet we can find freedom in the realization that all of creation resounds about a joy that is abiding. Heaven and nature sings with joy. Advent rings with expectant joy in the fulfillment of a promise, the hope of a nation, and the light of Christ that transcends a year of loss or a year of plenty. We are invited to hold the joy of the Lord in tandem with our experience of sorrow. We serve a God who sees our grief and laments with us and also reminds us of the joy in his nearness, in the gift of the Messiah.
May we go into this third week of advent knowing that whether we lie in wait or wanting, in abundance or in blessing, in feast or famine––there is great joy. May we be reminded of the joy of the Lord that unites us as we celebrate the arrival of Emmanuel, God with us.
An Opportunity To Bring Joy
As we remember the abiding joy of Jesus, let us rejoice together. Out of our joy, let us give generously, mindful of the many among us who live in circumstances that would have them standing in despair instead of joy. Consider making a donation to CCDA today, as we support the work of our many practitioners and partners who are committed to cultivating hope, peace, and joy in our communities.