Advent Week 4: Joy according to…

Dino:

Joy (noun)

1. Overwhelming feel-good emotion evoked when dad gets home from work or when Lolo (grandpa) comes to visit, and the expression or exhibition of such emotion by excessive jumping, licking, wrestling and playing

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Merriam-Webster:

Joy

  1. 1a  :  the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires :  delight b  :  the expression or exhibition of such emotion :  gaiety

  2. 2:  a state of happiness or felicity :  bliss

  3. 3:  a source or cause of delight

Me: 

A warm feeling of gladness that often seems way too short-lived and too good to be true.

Yikes. I’m beginning to sound quite Grinchy!

But for real – have you ever struggled with being joyful? I’ll be the first to admit I have. Even when things are going great, often my next thought is “Oh no, this is bound to end any minute now… BRACE YOURSELF!”

It’s true that all good things (and thankfully also not so good things) must come to an end, so it’s understandable that joy may be accompanied by a tinge of fear and sadness.

But perhaps there is a joy deeper than an emotion tied to a delightful event or according to Merriam-Webster, getting what we want (my paraphrase). Perhaps there is a joy that is less visible than Dino jumping all over Lolo for five minutes straight when he arrived from the airport, but maybe that joy is also longer lasting…

I’d like to know how the shepherds in the fields reacted to the angel who appeared and said to them:

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Were they skeptical, or were they excited that their prayers were going to be answered? Maybe somewhere in between?

I hate to admit this but I often want a big flashy display from God. I want great miracles presented in spectacular ways instead of prayers that are answered much too slow for my taste and in pretty ordinary ways.

Yet even Christ, Savior of the world, was born into a circumstance even less than ordinary – but there was joy – there IS great joy – in that, for He is God’s grace recognized:

This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

Luke 2:12-19

When we look to the world to define things which really should be defined by the Word, we are bound to be disappointed. So this season, let’s look to God’s Word first before we look around, for only then can we find true joy in and through Him.

Lord, 

Help us to realize the sweet grace You have already shown us through the birth of Christ, and help us also to be aware of your grace and favor in the simple blessings of daily life that our hearts may be filled with JOY!

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