Enjoying Advent! Week 3 – Joy

(This post is part 3 of our Enjoying Advent! series. Here’s part 1 on Hope and part 2 on Peace, if you missed them.)

I pray that reflecting on hope and peace during the last two weeks filled your heart so that now you can rejoice in God from the overflow of what he has done in your heart!

I trust these simple activities will help you engage your heart with God and enter into true joy this season.

Reflect on Joy

There are two types of joy – a superficial joy and a deep and abiding joy.

The first comes from and is defined by our circumstances. We get the job, new house, answer to prayer, and we are elated. Delight and happiness fill our thoughts and our hearts. We rejoice, smile, and exult naturally and without effort.

There is another type of joy that often baffles and perplexes observers. This joy finds delight and gladness in the midst of the darkest days and deepest trials. It is not simply a response to the circumstances of life, but comes from a personal intimacy with and knowledge of God.

Think of Paul who rejoiced in the midst of suffering, and David who praised while being pursued by his enemies. Even within the Christmas story we see rejoicing. Mary rejoiced that God chose her to carry the Messiah. The angels rejoiced at Christ’s birth. Why would Mary rejoice? She was unmarried and young. Her reputation would be marred. Why would the angels rejoice? Christ left heaven, was bound by time and space, and came to earth to suffer and die. Not very joyful circumstances.

And yet each of them could see past the obvious, external circumstances to something greater. Paul experienced a chance to unite more deeply with Christ. David trusted that God was at work and would keep the promises made to him. Mary saw the fulfilment of God’s promise of a Messiah. The angels saw the ultimate triumph over Satan. And so, they each endured, just as Jesus would one day endure. They endured the pain for the joy that was set before them.

What pain are you enduring today?

Lift your eyes past the pain to the joy that awaits you. Christ’s birth is a reminder that God keeps his promises. Your pain won’t be forever. One day it will be wiped away, never to return!

And now, in the waiting, the joy of the Lord will carry you through.

Meditate on Joy

Set aside a few minutes to reflect on this verse.

  • What causes you to rejoice?
  • What do you think it means to rejoice in the Lord? How do you find joy in God?
  • What is it about salvation that brings you joy?
  • In what aspects of life do you need joy that is only found through God?
  • What truths about God speak joy to your heart today?

Investigate Joy

Read the Christmas story in Luke 2:1-40. Consider how each of the main characters displayed joy and why that is.

Mary, Joseph, Jesus, Shepherds, Angels, Simeon, Anna, People in Jerusalem

I trust these simple ideas help you reflect on and enter into the joy of Christmas.

Want more ideas? Download the FREE Enjoying Advent! guide to find printables, reflective ideas, and more Scripture and songs to enhance your reflection on joy. (It also has ideas for helping children enjoy the joy of Christmas too! Read more about it here.)

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