Shout for Joy
Do you ever feel like life is going great, and then all of a sudden, you're at rock bottom? You've hit your lowest point and aren't sure how to move forward. Thinking about lighting the advent candle for joy this weekend, it's important that as people of faith, we live every moment in joy, not matter what the situation. I know for myself, over the holidays, I get the question 'how's school going' at least a dozen times, when really all I want to do is focus on the present moment. God calls us all to live out in joy, even as we're stressed, maybe not using money wisely enough, maybe bot reacting the best we could towards our neighbour. How do you seek joy?
Today's Gospel states:'Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus'(Matthew 1:18-25).
In today's Gospel, we hear how Joseph was intending to divorce marry. He was concerned and didn't believe her 'immaculate conception'. Joseph is scared, but still good, still a holy man with hope. An angel appears and brings him joy, brings him truth about the wonderful things God is doing through Mary, and her son, Jesus. Like Joseph, we tend to lose our way, to become distracted by stress and don't seek the joy of every minute God gives to us. We need to seek joy and even though it may be challenging at times, those moments are the most important, when God tests us of our strength. Take some time to ask God to help you live every moment in joy.
Today's prayer comes from 'Knowing Jesus', a prayer for joy:
Heavenly Father, how we bless and thank You for the glad tidings of great joy that were given to all people.. through that angelic host so many years ago. Thank You for Jesus and the joy and peace that floods the hearts of all who have found in Him the rock of their Salvation. Eternity is too short for us to praise and magnify Your glorious name for all Your goodness and love towards us.. and to all who are called by Your name.. for in You is the fullness of joy. Help me to share this joy of knowing Jesus with all those who You place in my path and I pray that throughout the world there may be many sinners today.. who are saved by grace through faith in the shed blood of Christ Jesus – so that they too may experience the joy and peace that passes understanding which is freely available to all who paid heed to the glad tidings of the gospel of grace. This we ask in Jesus name, Amen