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The Joy of Advent: Day One

December.16.2012

This third week of Advent is the hardest for me as an individual. I understand the importance of joy, but rarely do I understand it. I understand the distinction between joy and happiness, yet fail quite often to live out what it means to have joy. And I know that this season is supposed to be filled with overwhelming joy, but far too often I settle for the default setting of cynicism, which accomplishes absolutely nothing.

Especially in light of recent events and yesterday’s post, I’m reminded of the joy of my salvation, the joy that can only come from a deep hope and peace that results from the coming of Jesus into our world. I read passages like Zephaniah 3 and am filled with wonder at how God loves for each and every one of us, and that my response can be nothing but pure unadulterated joy that lives deep in my soul and expresses it self through empathy, compassion, and love for my neighbor.

Sing, Daughter Zion;
    shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
    Daughter Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away your punishment,
    he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
    never again will you fear any harm.
On that day
    they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
    do not let your hands hang limp.
The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

“I will remove from you
    all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals,
    which is a burden and reproach for you.
At that time I will deal
    with all who oppressed you.
I will rescue the lame;
    I will gather the exiles.
I will give them praise and honor
    in every land where they have suffered shame.
At that time I will gather you;
    at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
    among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes
    before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.

– Zephaniah 3:14-20

May we experience the deep joy of a savior who will bring us home, who will rescue the lame and gather the exiles. And my that joy express itself through hope, peace, and love of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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