December 8, 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: John 15:10–12

I sat quietly in the sanctuary, mainly to take a break from the static in my head. I wanted to be in my thinking chair but sometimes you “can’t always get what you want.”  Also, the sanctuary is not a bad alternative. The hanging garland, glowing with beautiful white lights, caught my attention. The lights are in a distinguishable pattern, pleasant enough and rather effective in intent – shining light. Perhaps it was their linear alignment or my need to think systematically because my thoughts went to the ordering of Advent themes – hope, joy, peace, faith and love.  What goes first I thought?  Is there a path to follow that leads toward a deeper faithfulness or a greater awareness of God’s presence?  What impacts occur if there is a depletion or dismissal of any of these foundational components?  I sat very still and pondered.
My pondering seemed to center on the question: Is hope needed before joy? I didn’t get far in developing a coherent response.  I decided that it’s easier to define and understand what joy is rather than to ponder how joy originates and what is required to have a joy-full soul.
I know joy comes in connection with another. Joy happens when I realize that my relationship with God matters not merely as an intellectual construct but as that which gives me life.  Joy does not depend on our circumstances.  It has a gift-like quality and is given to me (and to us) by the One who desires a relationship that is personal. Joy appears in our lives as a consequence of the relationship we share with God as well with others. What I decided is that joy flows from hope.

Reflection Questions:
What causes static in your head?
How does joy flow from you?
How is joy life-giving to you?

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