This week we celebrate the third week of advent. Advent is the time of preparation including the four Sundays and weeks before Christmas. Interestingly, before there was any celebration of Christmas, Christians would celebrate the Ephany (January 6th) and prior to that feast new believers would prepare falso for four weeks, for Baptism.
Today in many churches we celebrate Advent. Each of the four Sundays in Advent are assigned one special focus or application: Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.
In this third week of advent we look at Joy.
One of the very first verses our children learned was Philippians 4:4 which reads. "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice." (ESV) Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit along with love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness. The Bible tells us that as Christians we are to automatically produce these fruits.
It may be difficult sometimes to be joyful but every day there are many blessings to be counted. These difficult days are times when it’s good to remember friends, family, and significant people and events in our lives that gives us great joy.
The Bible tells of the shepherds in the field and the angel that brought good news of great joy.
"And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, 'Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." - Luke 2:8-10
We have a choice each day to live our life with Joy and happiness or sadness and depression. Here are some ways to remember to be joyful:
- We can trust in God even when we have every reason to doubt. God is faithful. The Bible says he is our strong tower, our ever-present hope in time of need. He has promised to never leave us.
- Giving to others in their time of need is a sure way to turn your frown into a smile. The Bible says it’s better to give than receive and this is exactly the point. Giving releases that gift of joy.
- Exercise is great for the body and exercising your faith is great for your spirit. Pray, spend some time in worship, open the Bible and enjoy time with the Word of the Lord and quickly, the God of hope will fill you with joy and peace as you trust Him (Romans 15:13.
Advent is a time of preparation. In this third week we are getting closer to the business of the holiday. Make sure you spend time to prepare your heart for this wonderful celebration of the coming of the King.
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