December 7, 2020

Prayer:Holy God, speak to all that keeps me from listening.  Speak to me an Advent message. I sit expectant to hear. Word of God, speak.  Amen.  

Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 8:10
Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Dr. Hal Brady tells a story of eating in a restaurant with another couple. There were some high-school students in a corner booth. The students got tickled about something and started laughing. Their laughter got louder and louder. Soon they became aware that some people were listening to their laughter, and they tried to stop. However, the more they tried to stop laughing, the more the giggles and laughter convulsed their entire bodies.
Dr. Harding said that the entire booth was shaking with laughter and joy. Then something began to happen. The laughter moved out from that one booth to another. People started to smile, and then they, too, began to laugh.
Then Dr. Harding said, “I saw it coming toward us! Soon we found ourselves caught up in the whole atmosphere of laughter and joy. We didn’t even know what we were laughing about. But our conversation was interrupted as we smiled at each other and then broke out in laughter. It was an amazing moment.”
Filled with hope, we enter into the second week of Advent to experience and express joy. Our joy goes deep and in many ways it’s even more contagious then a restaurant filled with laughter and delight. Joy is an attitude that God’s people embody not because of good and happy circumstances but because of the awareness that God loves them. Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures because when everything is said and done we realize we are infinitely loved.

Reflection Questions:
What brings you laughter and delight?
How do you define joy?
How has joy changed over the years for you?

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