Advent marks the four Sundays before Christmas. Each Sunday we light a candle symbolizing our light, Jesus, coming into the world. Yesterday was the third Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of Joy. The first, second and fourth candle on the Advent wreath is purple, a color of repentance and waiting. The third candle is pink, representing the joy we find even in the midst of trials and questions.
We recognize that the holiday season is not as joyful for everyone as we like to pretend. Grief, loss, difficult family dynamics, financial burdens all affect how joyful someone feels. But when we focus on God we realize that we have reason to be joyful no matter what our circumstances may be. We cannot always change the situation we are in. But we can change how we respond to it. If we choose to respond with openness, with humility, acceptance, and gratitude, we can find joy even in the most difficult situations. If we recognize that God is in control and believe that ultimately, God knows better than we do, we can find joy.
Our youth bell choir played a beautiful arrangement of "Silent Night." Our band sang "Light of the World" by Lauren Daigle: "He is the song for the suffering. He is messiah. The Prince of Peace has come.He has come, Emmanuel.
Glory to the light of the world.
For all who wait, for all who hunger, for all who've prayed, for all who wonder.
Behold your King. Behold Messiah. Emmanuel, Emmanuel,
Glory to the light of the world."
Music touches us in places that words alone cannot get to. It brings us joy. And it makes us want to move!
We also played the video "Joy" by For King and Country - and we danced! (Watch it here if you need some joy in your day: https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=E-r7ogDaaEQ) The pews were rockin'. Joy is contagious. Love is contagious. Hope is contagious.
Advent stands for all of those gifts: God wants to bring them to us. And when we are open to receive them, willing to let them interrupt the busyness or our lives and the negativity around us, when we truly let them reach our hearts we cannot help but pass them on. The world needs more joy. The world needs more God. The world needs us to spread it all around.
Wishing everyone who reads this a joyful, peaceful and hopeful Christmas, filled with the love of God!