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The Joy of Advent: Day Two

December.17.2012

I’m pretty sure this is going to be the week that is most outside of my comfort zone as we move closer and closer to celebrating Christ’s birth. I am quite comfortable praying for more hope, a deeper peace, but I am not sure I have ever really prayed and sought after God for joy.

And it’s not like I haven’t been depressed or despaired, but I don’t think I have ever asked to experience true joy, or really know what that looks like. Like I stated yesterday, there is an absolute difference between joy and happiness, and I know that there are times in my life where I have experienced a profound undercurrent of joy, but it’s not something I go after. If anything, I am most often surprised by joy.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birthinto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy”

– 1 Peter 1:3-8

This is not a traditional advent verse in the least, but when ever I am confronted with my lack of joy, this is the passage that consistently comes to mind. Yesterday at church we had the opportunity to take communion, which is one of my favorite things we do as a community. It is such a sacred place and I love that it was a part of our worship as we move to the birth of Christ, because with every step towards the manger is one more step closer to the cross.

And the cross is where we find our joy. That is where we find grace, our purpose, forgiveness, and true love. All these trials we experience result in a deeper faith in who Jesus is and what he did and our response should be pure, unadulterated joy.

Joy that in the midst of trials, in the midst of doubt, in the midst of the darkness, that Jesus was born a baby, lived a blameless life, allowed himself to be killed on the cross, and rose from the dead. And that should fill us with a “inexpressible and glorious joy.” May it be that way today, and each day forward. Amen.

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