Advent, week 3: Joy
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)
Some days I wake up and I donít feel joyful. I read my Bible and pray, work through the morning, and by lunch, still no spikes on the joy meter. Through the afternoon and evening, I might just be having a rough day, and joy is absent. Some days, I wait for joy and it just doesnít come.
The writers in the New Testament seem to have a weird fixation on joy. Itís not a passive thing you hope for. Paul commands, Rejoice in the Lord always. And weíll say, Itís impossible to rejoice always. To rejoice in ourselves or our circumstances always may be impossible, but joy in the Lord is never out of reach. From the time of Jesusí birth it was "good news of great joy," and the good news about him continues to be an unwavering source of joy. Godís attributes, his righteousness, goodness, love, power, and mercy, manifested in Jesus; his presence with us as Immanuel, "God with us"; his unreserved forgiveness for our sins through the cross; the hope of eternal life with him through the resurrectionóall of these are sufficient reason for joy.
Every day I have the choice to take hold of joy in the Lord. That doesnít mean Iím always upbeat or cheerful. Yet to fix my mind on him is to be never altogether bereft of joy.
May the Advent season remind you of the unfaltering spring of joy who was born to us that day and who lives still.