(A brief reading I wrote for worship this past Sunday as we lit the third Advent Candle)
Advent Week 3: Joy
On the first week of Advent, we lit the candle of Faith as we put our trust in God that God will make good on his promise to redeem the earth. Last week, we were reminded of God’s love for the world. This morning we light the third candle, the Candle of Joy. Our scripture is from Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to everyone.
The Lord is near.
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
We live in a world of anxiety and fear. We worry about things like violence in our communities, chronic illness, economic instability, marital failure, injustice, and so many other things. Watching or reading the news does nothing to help in these matters as they only seem to peddle fear to the anxious. We can become consumed and overwhelmed by the circumstances in which we have no control.
God invites us to take a different path. Rather than living in anxiety and worry, we are invited to find joy in the many gifts that God has placed in our lives. We can live in joy because, as Paul says, The Lord is near.
On this third Sunday of Advent, we light the pink candle and we choose to live in defiance of the powers and principalities that attempt to cripple us with fear. We choose to REJOICE and to live in JOY because God has come near through Jesus.
Let us Pray:
Almighty God- we come this morning with many things in our hearts. Help us to focus on one thing, your love that is present with us through Jesus Christ. Help us to root our lives in this reality and to live in JOY throughout our lives. And may your peace that passes all understanding be with us now and forever. Amen.