Advent 2021 – Third Sunday

Yesterday was Dec 12, 2021. It was the 3rd Sunday of Advent. I am playing catch up this week. My family went over to our pastors house with the staff of the church to have a little Christmas get together. So I am posting this here this morning instead of last night.

We have journeyed through the first theme of Advent: Hope! Christ is our hope. Also, through the second theme: Peace! He is our Prince of Peace. Now, the third theme: JOY!

This Sunday we sang the song: O’ come all ye faithful.

I love the sound of the whole church singing Christmas songs together. It was beautiful.

Oh, come, all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant!
Oh, come ye, oh come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold him,
Born the King of angels;

As we have moved through the different themes for Advent we have had congregants join us each week to do a reading, prayer, and the lighting of the Advent candles. I have loved listening to each family read. We’ve have a young family, an older couple, a single mom and her son, and then there was JoAn.

JoAn is a sweet little widow who lost her husband just a few years back. She had called to make sure that she had someone to help light the candles. She had been praying and practicing. And the Lord honored her for her effort and desire to honor Him. She read and a sweetness filled the room as she did. Our worship leaders, Sarah (my daughter) said, “When she started reading the words hit me (motioning to her chest) and my eyes filled with tears. It was wonderful.”

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came to her and said, ‘Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.’ But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. Then the angel told her: ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.

When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

Luke 1:26-33, Luke 1:41-44

Pastor Chad said this statement as he was beginning and it struck me:

Joy is not happiness.

Happiness depends on happenings and joy depends on Jesus.

Pastor Chad Garrison

What is joy anyway? I like to look up the etymology of words and joy means pleasure and delight. To me these words are exactly what we feel in the room when JoAn read the scriptures. Joy has a sweetness and a settled contentment to it. This joy has a sense of pleasure that arises in Christ’s followers when they face their days whether difficult or full of easy, and it gives them an ability to walk lite and with a confident bounce in their step.

As Pastor Chad said those words quoted above I heard this question in my mind: How do you handle happenings? The word happen means “to come to pass, occur, come about, be the case.” it is all the smaller strung together events of our lives. These are our happenings and often times they feel like they are happening to us. They affect us and often sway how and when we feel happy.

This week we will unpack the gift of joy that comes to us the person of Christ. Pay attention to how you handle all of your happenings. Join me as we go.

Pray with me:

Jesus, come and invade all of our happenings. You are the joy we long for and desire. When happenings happen Lord help us to be reminded that nothing is our own your sight or control. Give us the Joy that you came to bring us Lord. Teach us about joy through the struggle and joy in our salvation. Amen

All is grace,

Starla

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

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