In his letter the Philippians, Paul encourages them to “Rejoice……for the Lord is near!”
This week we lit the candle of Joy. This is also called the Shepherd’s Candle and reminds us of the joy that comes through Jesus’ arrival. It is about celebration.
This Advent season we walk the twin path of remembering what has been and the hopeful expectation of what is to come. And this dear friends is the key to holding onto your joy and not letting it be taken from you or slip away.
The incarnation is the treasured moment in human history that I would consider the most beautifully profound, transformative and wondrous event in our story. There is no other event in our history where one accurately say that everything changed from this moment onwards. But we can with Jesus.
Look at what happened for the people who came into contact with this man. He is love personified, his compassion knows no boundaries and his ability to comfort the hurting is pure symphony to the downtrodden; his humility is that of someone who has tasted the One before whom he kneels and surrenders; his dedication to his personal mission is matched only by his fierce intentionality to remove all barriers to the Father; his tenderness is enough to break even the wildest horse and his mercy extends to farthest reaches of all humanity; he is wildly and intricately creative; in knife-edge moments he disarms would-be murders cloaked in falsehood and religion; and he redeems prostitutes, sinners and the ragamuffins and then raises them to a place of true intimacy in his Kingdom.
He is not just a beautiful life….He is beauty.
He is not just loving…..He is Love.
If what we focus on is enlarged in our lives, lets agree not to focus on the barrage of assault that our hearts have taken in recent times. Lets focus on the joy that we’re invited to experience and share as we live with Jesus; lets focus on how He changed humanity forever; lets focus on the love, compassion, grace and kindness that we have received and that we are called to give; and let us focus on the joy that is to come, in the new age, when all things are renewed and restored in and through life, essence, goodness and justice of Jesus.
Without belittling or down-playing our current circumstances and their effects on us, let joy rise up in you for the Lord is near……may that truth be enlarged in our lives!