Fear Not, and Find Your Joy!
I have to confess this is my favorite week of advent. It’s joy week! This is the time we light the rose-colored candle because it reflects the joy that comes from the promise fulfilled for us in Jesus’ birth. Luke 1:14 tells us, “You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.” But sometimes we have trouble finding joy and gladness this time of year, we let the news on our TV’s and our expectations of the holidays get in the way. Even I get nervous as it gets closer to Christmas. Wondering if I will be ready? Will, I get to all the details, like cards in the mail, decorations up, and the turkey in the oven and in the add worry of a blog written and posted on time! These concerns can steal our joy.
But the lesson of the Christmas season is that genuine joy is not tied to our circumstances, but on God’s great love for us. We need to remember having joy in the Lord is what enables us to keep moving forward in the face of tragedy. I am not telling you that your fears are not valid, but if all you concentrate on are those troubles, fears, and doubts, you will miss the great joy found in the small and wonderful.
The angel Gabriel came to the shepherds in the field and said to them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” I am sure if one angel and his heavenly hosts of thousands appeared in front of me, I would need that reassurance not to be afraid, but how amazing it would have been to be them! To be there on the blessed night of our Lord's birth. Invited to be the first among men to kneel at His feet. What regrets they would have had if they had let their fears overcome the joy they found lying in the manger? The small and wonderful. The King James Version says “Fear not” or “Be not afraid” 103 times. God knows and understands that in this life we will have troubles and tons of things to fear, but He wants us to move on despite them, to push through. That’s why He reminds us not to give into fear so many times in His word.
We can remain joyful in all situations, whether they are happy or sad, letting Jesus touch our hearts with the Joy of that first holy night. By spending time with the Lord in prayer, reading our bible, and sharing our faith with others during this Christmas season. We can have a place at the birth right beside those shepherds. When we live a life acknowledging that all is not well in our world, but knowing that God made a way for us to be secure, anyway. Because if you accept the Christ Child (the best gift ever given or received) into your heart, you will find joy!
So, go on and let the laughter ring out. Find the things that help you find your joy. Sing Christmas carols, send out cards that proclaim the good news, decorate your home, light your advent candles and make merry with friends and family! This is the season of great joy!