When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. (Matthew 2:10)
The word joy is one of the most frequent words found in scripture – about 200 times depending upon the translation you read. This might surprise some people who think of faith as a burden. Yet, joy is exactly what God desires for us.
Oh, it isn’t that joy we get as we open a new Christmas gift. Nor was it fully reflected in the joy of the Magi as their journey came to an end by the manger. No, this joy goes deeper, lasts longer, and never ends. It is the joy that Christ gives us through trusting in his love for us. It is the kind of joy that can’t help but overflow.
Indeed, Jesus is our joyful gift; to welcome into our hearts or reject freely. Rather than forcing us to come to him, he comes to us. He put people in your life to invite you, challenge you, and call you to himself. He saves you because he delights in you (Psalm 18:19). You bring him joy! In fact, he says he chose you as you are, so that you can share in his mission of bringing his joy to others and find joy along your way.
Jesus said that his life, teachings and example were given for us “so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” This joy isn’t something we chase after or hide away. Instead, it is something we live in community – whenever we love one another as Jesus taught.
Discussion questions: How are you personally called to bring the joy of Christ to others? What joy do you share with your family of faith?
The above reflection was originally published in Messiah Lutheran Church and School’s worship bulletin for the Third Sunday of Advent, 2013. It is meant to complement Creative Communications’ Bright Star of Bethlehem series for Advent and Christmas.
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations for this article are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation.
© 2013 The Rev. Louis Florio. All content not held under another’s copyright may not be used without permission of the author.