Christians around the world celebrate and contemplate the meaning of joy on Sunday, December 16th, the third Sunday of Advent. The four weeks of Advent are held Sundays in December in preparation for Christmas. The first week’s Prophet candle represents Hope, the second week’s Bethlehem candle represents Faith, the third week’s Shepard candle represents Joy, and the fourth week’s Angel candle represents Peace.*
Joy is a word that combines the previous themes of hope and faith into inspiration for happiness now and in the future!
Joy is a word that understands faith is knowing that God’s love and grace will never fail us: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.
Joy is a word that flourishes gratefulness: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Thessalonians 5:16-18
Joy is the knowledge that God will always provide and with God all things are possible: “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
As Christians, we contemplate the first three weeks of advent in celebration of hope, faith and joy, while looking forward to next week’s focus on peace. Peace is the culmination of all that is hopeful, faithful and joyful: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14.27.
Moreover, peace is a gift from Christ that transcends all circumstances and outside events. It is not dependent on obtaining material possessions or avoiding life’s troubles. Having Jesus in our hearts is true peace! Remember how important peace was to Jesus when his first words to his disciples after his resurrection were, “Peace be with you.” John:20:19.
God’s gift of Jesus restores our spirituality in hope, faith, joy and peace that brings comfort in the gift of salvation, everlasting life and the return of Jesus.
Next week, we celebrate the birth of our savior! Peace be with you, and God bless!
*Traditions vary according to differing denominations of Christian faith.