The heart of God has been unveiled in the Advent of the Christ-child. He yearns to share His life with us and enjoy us forever. The King of the universe is the King of joy and love. God wants us more than we want God. It is God’s love and joy that has the power to transforms us into a people who fully trust his rule and can celebrate God’s reign with all our hearts. God finds satisfaction and joy in his love for us! God wants us to know the deep pleasure of what it means to be satisfied by his presence and rejoicing over us as his beloved, so that we too will know the Lord’s joy. God wants us to become a people of joy!
Let’s not allow the events of our world or nation to get us confused about the source of our joy or what joy is. The third Sunday of Advent invites us to remember that joy is not some feeling of fleeting optimism, but a state of mind and orientation of the heart. Joy is a satisfied state of mind that takes pleasure in the loving reign of King Jesus over our lives and turns our hearts away from fear and to the One who says, “Do not fear for I am with you, rejoicing over you with singing!” Joy is a settled state of contentment, a confidence and hope, not in ourselves, but in the faithful love of God who reigns with compassion and grace. It is the settled assurance and quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright because God’s kingdom, of which we are citizens, will never falter or fail. So joy, more than optimism or happiness, arises from the ashes of a world prone to anxiety, disappointment and fear, and strengthens my feet to walk by faith trusting in the power and promised presence of Christ in our midst by the Spirit.
14 Sing for joy, Daughter Zion; shout loudly, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
15 The Lord has removed your punishment;
He has turned back your enemy.
The King of Israel, Yahweh, is among you;
you need no longer fear harm.
16 On that day it will be said to Jerusalem:
“Do not fear; Zion, do not let your hands grow weak.
17 Yahweh your God is among you,
a mighty one who will save.
He will rejoice over you with gladness.
He will hold his peace in His love.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
10 For you will not abandon me to Sheol; you will not allow your faithful one to see decay.
11 You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures.
Lord of joy, God of dancing and celebration, awaken my heart to the joy that comes from your presence and reign. In Jesus’ name, amen.