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Receive the Joy

Today’s Reflection

SOME OF US have difficulty opening ourselves to the joy of the Lord when we feel surrounded by suffering. We feel as though we must engage with the pain around us, but we forget to embrace the joy. We find ourselves distrustful, suspicious, and even resistant to the possibilities of experiencing the joy found in Jesus Christ.

And perhaps we have good reason for our reluctance. We have been badly hurt and let down in the past. We know that life can be terribly unfair, and maybe we struggle with a dispositon that leans toward despair rather than hope. Perhaps we are scared that if we open ourselves to joy, we will face disappointment. Whatever the reason, we may find ourselves fearing joy. Little wonder that the angel, when bringing the shepherds good news of great joy, tells them not to be afraid.

Advent invites us to overcome our fear and receive the joy that Jesus brings. Not only is he a man filled with great joy, but also he wants to share that joy with us. His joy, so evident in his life, is not blind to the presence of suffering, evil, and death. Jesus faces these realities head-on. The joy that he offers has been tested by everything that so often robs us of ours. Because of Jesus’ life, crucifixion, and resurrection, we can trust that his joy is stronger than all its opponents.

– Trevor Hudson
Pauses for Advent

From page 47 of Pauses for Advent: Words of Wonder by Trevor Hudson. Copyright © 2017 by Trevor Hudson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Between Christmas day and the New Year, pause to contemplate the joy that Christ brings. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.
Galatians 4:7, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who are working more than one job. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Stephen (December 26).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 16 comments… add one }

  • Jill December 30, 2017, 5:58 am

    Indeed, where would my soul be without the undercurrent of His Joy and His Peace? Father – thank You for that life-giving assurance that Your Joy and Peace will remain and sustain. In Your mercy, You provide what is necessary, and it is in reality, in abundance. Assist me to trust Your ways, to not desire my own solution in my timing, but to find rest…yes, peaceful rest, in Your Sovereignty. Father – may this be so for all those who struggle here. Lead us further into Your Will, eyes on You.

    • Andrea December 30, 2017, 7:05 am

      Beautiful, Jill. Keeping you in prayer.

  • Andrea December 30, 2017, 8:10 am

    Joy – I grew up learning that happiness and joy were selfish things to want. Thankfully, as an adult I was able to unlearn that.

    I experience great joy with my grandchild. I am thankful for this great joy and blessing that fills my heart to overflowing.

    Strength, support, comfort, healing, peace – my prayer for UR friends and visitors.

    • Andrea December 30, 2017, 8:19 am

      And joy.

  • Betsy December 30, 2017, 8:12 am

    A heart is a fragile thing; so afraid of experiencing pain and hurt. But in experiencing hurt, we can feel the joy that comes from healing. Give me courage, Lord, to put myself out there emotionally, so that you may feel true joy in You.
    It’s been kind of a “reunion” to go back and read everyone’s posts over that past few days. Praying that all who visit and share hear feel God’s redemptive joy as the Advent Season ends. May we carry that joy into the New Year!

  • Julie December 30, 2017, 8:19 am

    Thank you Jill, your words are always so beautiful. I am so thankful that you share your wisdom here in this forum, I have learned so much from you. I continue to pray for you and your parents.
    Andrea, I have learned so much from your posts as well. I continue to pray for you and Lowell.
    This post describes me exactly. I felt that Trevor had looked directly into my heart. I have had so much pain in my life and it is difficult to accept the peace and joy Jesus offers. Yet through the wisdom shared here I have inched my way closer.
    Thank you so much to everyone who posts here.
    Marcy, I hope you read my response to you yesterday. I love you and coontinue to lift you up in prayer. You are among those I look to that continue to share love and joy despite devestating circumstances. You are a Christian mentr to me.
    Blessings and prayers to one and all of the UR friends

  • robert moeller December 30, 2017, 11:33 am

    Thankful for the wisdom God gives that enables me to get on the UR Reflection when one does not arrive in my in box. Yes. I agree, Jill provides very deep, wise, and concise posts. There are sensitive posts from Andrea, Louise, Julie, and Betsy. Mary says so much in a few words. Prayers for each of you.as you make up the body of Christ.

    A not quite so cold day here in northwest New England, below or close to zero, but warmer than the last couple days.

    Time for the wonderful minestrone soup my son made.

    Am moving on to a maintenance program after finishing heart rehab yesterday. Thankful for the things I can do.

    Best wishes for a new year filled with the love of Christ, God’s wisdom, joy, and peace. May each of you have a very HEALTHY year in every way.

  • Marcy December 30, 2017, 3:24 pm

    I do so love and adore You, O my Lord. Please fill me to overflowing with love and gratitude. Let Your grace ever be the daily reminder of how much You love us and care for us. And come what may, let the deep soul swirling I feel in my very being, that I have been and will be a good and faithful servant. I cannot live without You, Jesus, and I will love You into eternity and beyond. Jesus, I trust in You.

  • Marcy December 30, 2017, 7:31 pm

    Thank you, my UR family members and siblings for your prayers. You don’t know what you all mean to me, because words cannot convey. I have been transferred to a rehabilitation facility willing to take me with no clear cut answers on the insurance issue. Praise God, praise Jesus Christ and praise the Holy Spirit. I have some permanent damage to my lungs and a small area of my heart, but wish with all my being, pray with all my being, that I may serve my Master well. The love that I feel for you all comes from God, as my first contact speaking with you all since the very first day I posted, filled me with peace, acceptance, I was crying, hugging my phone to my heart for all I was worth. That’s happening again now. Just pure, raw love welling up as I realize how Jesus has placed you in my solitary life. I KNOW I’m not alone. Thank you, God. Thank you, sisters, brothers.

    I’m thankful to Abby, who typed this post. And my nurse, my bleed nurse, Cyr, who held my hands and prayed with me. God is so poor good, all the time.

    • robert moeller December 30, 2017, 8:16 pm

      Very grateful that you are receiving the care you need. Thank God. Prayers you will recover. The hospital where I had heart rehab also helps pulmonary patients so I expect there are opportunities for you to have both heart and lung help where you are. Thank you for sharing. You are very much in God’s hands.

    • Andrea December 30, 2017, 8:49 pm

      Marcy, what good news that you have improved and are now in a rehab facility. I am so happy to hear that. I pray for your continued progress and increasing strength. May your lungs and heart be strengthened through the medical treatment and therapies you receive. I pray too for your nurses, doctors, and all the staff that care for you. We surround you, Marcy, in spirit. We lay our hands on you and picture Jesus at your side, nurturing and guarding you tenderly. Rest well and lean into the Everlasting Arms.

      • Mary Ng Shwu Ling December 31, 2017, 5:25 am

        Marcy, so glad to hear from you!

        Wow! God provided you with a secretary to type your comments here!


        Happy new year and speedy recovery!

  • Marcy December 30, 2017, 7:33 pm

    Abby wants to make sure blessed nurse. I told her you’d understand.

    • Andrea December 30, 2017, 9:06 pm

      God bless Abby. May she know that our gracious loving God watches over her, guides her, and gives her wisdom and strength.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling December 31, 2017, 5:28 am

      Very grateful for all the caring nurses and doctors in this world!

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling December 31, 2017, 10:43 am

    Yes, Lord, i teceive the joy that Jesus bring.

    Thank you for the gift of joy.

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