Advent – Week Three JOY

This week Ron and I lit the third candle on our Advent wreath, a light symbolizing JOY. It joined the lights of HOPE and PEACE.

     One of today’s most beloved Christmas Carols, “Joy to the World” was printed originally in 1719 in a collection written by Isaac Watts.

     Even though Mr. Watts didn’t intend his hymn to be a Christmas carol, the theme of “joy” surely fits when thinking about the arrival of Emmanuel.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great JOY for all the people. (Luke 2:8-10 NIV)

     The short New Testament book of Philippians is one of my favorites.

     The Apostle Paul references ‘joy’ or ‘rejoicing’ over a dozen times in the letter to his friends in Philippi. When he wrote this letter, he was under Roman house arrest, shackled 24/7 to a Roman guard. Not a very joyous place to be!

     Obviously, Paul had figured out having joy isn’t dependent on being in pleasant circumstances. I imagine he would have agreed with Henri Nouwen:

Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.

     The decision to “choose joy” can be difficult and confusing. In Thursday’s post, I unpack the matter of joy a bit more. Until then, rejoice with me as we consider the lyrics of Joy to the World

1 Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King!
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.

2 Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

3 No more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
far as the curse is found,
far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.

4 He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of His righteousness
and wonders of His love,
and wonders of His love,
and wonders, wonders of His love

May your hearts and homes be filled with Joy this third week of Advent…

Sue Reeve

P.S. Tomorrow, Tuesday, December 17th, you’ll be receiving a special notification from Listening on the Journey… Please be sure and open and follow the instructions for a Christmastime giveaway.

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