Sunday, December 16, 2012

3rd Sunday in Advent ~ Joy

Lighting the candle of joy ~

After seeing [Jesus], the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds' story were astonished  Luke 2:17-18 NLT

In this third Sunday in Advent we light the candle of JOY! The Christmas season is full of reasons to have joy -- to celebrate -- to praise God for such extravagant generosity. Images of angels and choirs of angels awaken our imaginations. Words like Glory and Hallelujah echo the sounds of trumpet and tympani. Church bells and hand bells ring with joy. Our hearts stir and our souls smile as we listen to both story and song. 

This world attempts to steal our joy at every corner. Poverty and plenty contradict while tragedy and truth challenge each other. Within our desire for joy, sadness competes for attention. So how do we keep joy-full when angels and choirs and music are silenced by tragedy? Our church is singing this chorus during the Advent season: Emmanuel, Emmanuel, God incarnate, here to dwell. Emmanuel, Emmanuel, Praise His name, Emmanuel. God is with us ~ and that alone is reason for JOY! ~ dho