Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Advent of Joy

Advent of JoyDo you take joy in the Lord?

Much of Isaiah’s prophecies were rather gloomy. They warned of impending doom coming to unfaithful Israel. Isaiah warned that Israel must repent and return to the Lord, or else the nation would be destroyed by outside forces. Israel knew they were God’s chosen people and found it difficult, if not impossible to believe that the Lord would allow such destruction to fall upon them, no matter how far they strayed.

But Isaiah also offered the Israelites a means of hope. Hope that one day, their turbulent lives would be filled with peace. Through this hope and peace, the Israelites could take joy in their Lord. Do you take joy in the Lord?

2 Surely God is my salvation;

    I will trust and not be afraid.

The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense;

    he has become my salvation.”
3 With joy you will draw water

    from the wells of salvation.
4 In that day you will say:
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;

    make known among the nations what he has done,

    and proclaim that his name is exalted.
5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;

    let this be known to all the world.
6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,

    for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”
(Isaiah 12:2-6, NIV)

This passage from Isaiah immediately follows the passage foretelling of the coming child, Jesus Christ, from the line of Jesse, father of King David. Isaiah tells the Israelites that this child will provide salvation, bringing joy to all who accept. Isaiah further calls upon the Israelites to be joyful in the very moment they are in! Be joyful for their Lord God and be joyful for what is to come!

For most, Christmas is a joyful time. Advent of Joy.  The weeks leading up to Christmas are filled with activities that bring joy into our lives – buying presents for others, making cookies and baked goods, wrapping presents, decorating the Christmas tree, and many more activities! We take joy in the anticipation of the coming day, just as the Israelites could take joy in knowing about the coming Savior.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4, NIV)

We have much about which to rejoice! We can rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ, who provided eternal salvation to all mankind. And we can also rejoice in knowing that He will return soon, freeing us from this sinful world to live eternally with Him.

This week, take some time to reflect upon the theme of the week: Advent of Joy. What does joy mean to you? What brings you joy? Are you joyful?

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