We are halfway through Advent as we light the third candle, Joy.
In preparation for this devotional on joy I spent days pouring over verse after verse on joy. I was amazed how often joy was used to describe something so difficult. I began to think about some of my greatest teachers of joy, my friends who are currently incarcerated.
I had the beautiful privilege of meeting them a year and a half ago when they graciously accepted me and my friend and our simple church set up. They cheer their fellow sisters on when one is getting released and the love and cheer is so beautifully genuine.
They respond with a genuine joy in the midst of their deep longing for their own release. They exemplify true joy to me, their joy is tangible and contagious.
I think joy is really the deep understanding of morning coming, of night ending, and of knowing the sun is going to rise. It’s the quiet trust of knowing sorrow and intense loss, yet pursuing Jesus and placing that despair at his feet. It’s a conviction that sorrow may last for a night but joy really will come and when it does, it floods our hearts with light.
Joy is our flashlight in the darkness that shines a light on our faith. It’s a compass pointing to a true north. It’s a quiet secret, a truth buried deep down in our souls that keeps us going. And it rides on the coat tails of the peace Jesus gifted us.
The presence of joy is the presence of Jesus.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” – Pierre de Chardin
God, thank you for filling us with your joy and flooding our hearts with light. May we hold tightly to joy.