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