When Joy is Hard to Find – Advent Devotional Week 3
Even though the third week of Advent highlights the spirit of joy that Christ brings into the world there’s no doubt that our human nature finds it hard to grasp joy in the midst of trauma, tragedy, suffering and sorrow. We have seen the devastation of children caught in this world’s evil and my own recent experiences with friends who have difficulties – be it sickness, impending grief, loneliness or shattered relationships – highlights that it is the time of year when sorrows and frustrations are magnified.
Yet in the midst of trouble there is hope for joy. It’s a tenacious joy you experience that’s not necessarily “happiness” but you know you are walking on the road you are currently called to walk…even when it hurts…even when it means putting one foot in front of the other moment by moment to get to the next day and next year, trusting in God’s faithfulness.
As we prepare to remember, reflect, and celebrate the gift of our Savior, I ponder that night we often call a silent night, a holy night. Indeed it was a holy night, but I would venture to say it might not have been a silent one as there were groans of childbirth and the hustle and bustle of a busy town all around. Chaos prevailed as sojourners returned to Bethlehem for the census. People were tired and frustrated from many days of difficult travel.
….And then without fanfare hope, love, joy and peace humbly came to earth for us.
Today I pray that our eyes can see and ears can hear what the Spirit may be saying to us about our upcoming week and about our preparations for a new year. I need the encouragement of the Holy Spirit to ground me and keep me focused and to help me curtail my times of complaint and ingratitude:
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26
Holy Spirit, remind us of what you have taught us and help us to live our lives for your people and your purposes. Thank you for the opportunity you give us to comfort those who mourn and bless those in need. Let us be your vessels of hope, love, joy and peace.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:12, 15
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15 :13