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.
Between Christmas day and the New Year, pause to contemplate the joy that Christ brings. Share your thoughts.
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.
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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).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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