ADVENT CONNECTIONS 2016: Joy to the World

Advent 3 candles


With the growth of social media, we often have the privilege of seeing the pink puckered faces of tiny newborns only minutes or hours after they have burst into the world.  And, no matter how many babies we have seen before, we ooh and awe over each one.  There’s nothing like the joy of welcoming a baby into the world.  Whether you are mom, dad, auntie, grandma or friend, it is a time of great joy.  I am at the stage of life when many of my friends are welcoming grandbabies.  I first hear them bemoan that they are too young to be grandmas but not long later, in that first picture with a little grandbaby, all of that is replaced with a look of awe and delight.  After nine long months, and often a few extra days, he or she is here!

When baby Jesus burst into this world, he ended a period of waiting that began just after the dawn of creation in the Garden of Eden.  We waited as we heard God covenant with Abraham that through his family, all the world would one day be blessed.  We waited as we heard God promise King David that through his lineage, a King would one day come to rule over all forever.  We waited as the prophets gave hints of this one to come.

And then the time arrived:  the angels filled the skies proclaiming good news of great joy for all people!
Take time to pause and look at your life today.  Thank him for the blessings, the gifts, the love in your life and allow these things to awaken joy in your heart.  Tell him about the sorrows, the messes, the confusion, and thank him for his presence in the midst of it all.  In the quiet, ask him to come anew; to come by his Spirit and make the presence of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, real to you in a tangible and beautiful way in this moment and throughout this season.  Ask him to open your eyes to his presence with you right now.  He comes.  He is here.  And he loves you.   What joy that brings as we receive him!
Prayer:  Lord Jesus, we thank you that in love you come to us.  We welcome you again today into our very real lives.  Open our eyes to see all the ways you are loving us, and awaken joy in our hearts that leads us to sing with the angels, “Glory to God! Hallelujah!”  For we ask in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Listen prayerfully and give thanks with joy.