Happiness is a feeling, one that can disappear as soon as it comes. Joy, however, is a choice. We have a choice. God gives us a joy that is rooted in Him and is unconquerable. We can choose to live in the attitude of anger, resentment, and fear, or we can choose to hold to and pursue the joy that God promises us.
The third Sunday in Advent shifts from a tone of expectation of Christ’s coming to one of rejoicing at the arrival of God’s Kingdom with the coming of Jesus. The Advent season is now half over, and Jesus’ coming—both his first coming, liturgically, and his second coming, historically—is nearer now than it was two weeks ago.
So as we continue in our day to day lives during this Advent season, how can we choose joy?
Encourage: Write a note to someone who is experiencing fear and worry. Let them know you're praying that God will give them the courage they need.
Evaluate: Make an inventory of the things that bring you joy.
Express: Make the time and space to share a meal or a fun experience. This is such a busy time of the year! Don't miss the joy of sharing the experience of Christmas with each other.
Isaiah 35 reads,
"The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.
And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there,
and those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away."
- Joel French