ADVENT CONNECTIONS: Joy, Real Joy, Wonderful Joy

Advent candle wreathWhat is joy to you?  Is it a day off doing only what you want to do:  eating up the perfectly cooked turkey dinner; seeing the mountain tops from the beginning of a long run, mastering the moguls without a fall, then skiing down the gentle slopes only to conquer a few more hurdles before coming down to the finish line; standing in the berry patch with your family, filling the buckets and dreaming of the pies to come.

Are these real joy?

Is there joy only in happy happenings or can there be joy in grief and pain?

Some years ago, my second daughter, then fourteen, asked me, “Mom, how can I know I’m a Christian?”  I asked her if she had asked Jesus into her heart.  She said, “Yes.”  We sat down and found the verse in John 1:12 that talks about receiving Christ.  There we read that to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God.  We discovered that when you ask Jesus into your life, you become a child of God.  She jumped up and said, “Good, now I know.”  Joy was evident.  Several months later, she was killed in a traffic accident.  Where was the joy then with the weight of such grief?  But in the midst of grief, we knew that her “name was written in heaven” and she was safe with Jesus.

Jesus set a perfect example of joy for us.  In the midst of His intense teaching and preparing His disciples for future ministry and His own crucifixion, the Bible says He was “full of joy.”  He admonished them not to rejoice over their accomplishments, but “rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

King David talks about God making him glad with the joy of His presence  (Ps.21:6)   There were times when David was at his lowest.  He pled with God, Create in me a pure heart, O God.  Do not cast me from your presence; restore to me the joy of your salvation.  (Ps.51: 10-12.)  When we need our relationship with God restored, we, too, can pray that beautiful prayer.  He gives His joy, real joy.

Christmas is here and the message is “Joy to the World, The Lord has come.  Let earth receive her King.”  This is the message of Jesus coming to earth.  The angels sang to the shepherds, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10).   Jesus came for all the people–men and women, boys and girls, old and young.  Jesus came to bring salvation.  When we receive Him, there is joy, real joy.  Jesus said in Luke 15:10, “There is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”

A song I learned as a child goes like this:

If you want joy, real joy, wonderful joy, Let Jesus come into your heart.

Your sins He’ll wash away, your night He’ll turn to day,

Your life He’ll make it over anew.

If you want joy, real joy, wonderful joy, Let Jesus come into your heart.  (Words & music by Joseph D. Carlson)

Prayer:  Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to this earth to be our Savior.  Thank you that you were born to be my Saviour.  I ask you today to come into my heart.  Wash away the guilt of my sin and make me a new person.  Thank you that by knowing You there is full joy.  Amen

Contributed by Hildy Dyck

Please pray with us for Hildy as she recovers from a serious heart attack she had on Sunday, December 9.  We pray that she will experience the joy of Emmanuel our God who is with us in love, in all life brings.