"As the earth brings forth its plants, and a garden makes its growth spring up, so will the Lord GOD make justice and praise spring up before all the nations." -Isaiah 61: 11
"Rejoice always." -1 Thessalonians 5:16
On the third Sunday of Advent we paused to celebrate that the coming of Jesus and God's justice are near. Take this moment to pause in the middle of Advent to remember that true and lasting joy comes from God and through love of neighbor, not from discounts or the material presents that we give or receive. Advent simplicity provides an opportunity to reorient ourselves toward joy and to give thanks for the abundance of gifts already present in our lives.
In this third week of Advent, how can you make space to rejoice and express gratitude for the gifts already present in your life?
Drops of Joy by Janet Gray
Joy surprises, Joy hides in infertility, Joy can spring forth out of darkness.
Joy can show up in the presence of pain or insignificance, in the bleakness of oppression or in the powerlessness of youth or old age. Joy visits at funerals, makes appearances in hospices, and to the surprise of those who don’t darken the doors, is even known to appear in church!
We love Joy, even though She is difficult to define, and is too often so very, very elusive.
I can remember periods in my life when Joy showed up often. You, too?
Can you remember the lifting of spirit, the sharp shot of delight, the laser focus on an experience that blinded you from everything except Joy’s arrival?
If Joy is a gift from a Joyful God,
if Joy is a fruit of the Spirit,
if Joy is a mark of the Kinship of the Kingdom of God fully come,
Let us boldly ask for Her!
Come, Joy! Surprise us again and again! We need You. Desperately we need You.
Come and impregnate us, grow in us, bear fruit in us.
Come, Joy, and make your home in our hearts.
[Donna Dinsmore, Pacific Mountain Regional Council's MinistryPersonnel Support Team.]
Consider calling a loved one and expressing your gratitude for them or making a list of things for which you are grateful, that bring you JOY that you can uplift in prayer.