Bible Verse: The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. Psalm 65:8
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 40
Christmas. I love this time of year. One of the things that makes me the happiest is hearing the good news being proclaimed in the most unlikely of places. Car dealerships, shopping malls, and dentist offices are all places where Christmas songs are being played.
Granted, some of those songs will be about family members either kissing Santa Claus or getting run over by reindeer. Others will be about unique Christmas wishes like two front teeth, a ’54 convertible, or even a hippopotamus.
But every now and then, you get to hear the true message of the Gospel.
Whether it’s Boney M singing “Mary’s Boy Child” or Pentatonix singing “Mary Did You Know?” the truth about Jesus rings out. Even rarer, but still occurring, is the sound of classical Christmas songs like “O Holy Night” or “Silent Night.”
In the 3rd week of Advent, we light the “joy” candle. Christmas is truly about joy coming to the world.
It’s this word, “joy,” that we will be focusing on this week. It was a word well-experienced by the people of the Bible. Miriam danced with joy when the people of Israel were saved from the Egyptians (Exodus 15), the Jews were filled with joy when they were saved by Esther’s plea to the king (Esther 9), and they were again filled with joy at the rebuilding of the temple (Ezra 6) and the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 12).
And the Nativity story is replete with accounts of people experiencing joy because of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I want to build off of a definition of joy for our devotionals this week:
Joy is a wonderfully positive emotion given by the Holy Spirit as a result of hearing and receiving the good news of Jesus Christ, which becomes a source of strength for all of life.
As we dive into this word this week, may your hearts increase with the joy promised to you.
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for bringing joy to us. We need it, especially these days when there is so much darkness, dread, and despair. We need Your joy, and so does the world. So, fill us with Your joy and use us as joy-bringers to our family, friends, neighbours, co-workers, and classmates. For Your glory, Jesus. Amen.
Reflection: Are you experiencing joy these days? What is keeping you from the joy that God wants you to live with? What would increase your joy? How can you bring more joy to the relationships that God has placed you in?
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