Sing for Joy
By Deb Crowley of Charlotte, MI, USA
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth. Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel. —Isaiah 12:2–6 NRSV
The headline predicted the date the world would end. Christ’s return was imminent. A denominational magazine warned readers to get their lives in order and be ready! To an 8-year-old, this news was just plain scary. Mother never talked about the article, so my imagination ran wild.
Jesus’ promise to his disciples is one of unexpected joy. He promised to return, and he did. Not expecting him, they walked with him, but did not know him. Today, we have learned to expect him every day. He is with us every day
Life is full of unexpectedness. Earthquakes, floods, disease, death, job loss. Natural, personal, unanticipated setbacks stop us in our tracks and shatter our world of order. Our “end of the world” may come tomorrow. Christ’s message of joy is that we need not live in fear of what may happen. We should get our act together and live in Christ-like love every day—live expecting Christ’s presence every day. Don’t wait to do a kind deed, mend broken relationships, get involved in making the world a safer place for everyone, or spend more time with God.
Do it now!
Live in the promise that Jesus, God’s Son, whose coming birth we celebrate, is with us and for us. We do not face the future alone. Sing for joy, “for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
Prayer for Peace
O God, our Hope for years to come, we sing for joy in your promises. Let us not worry about shortness of time or delay in working for peace. Joy is here, and he is Jesus Christ.
Spiritual Practice: Advent—Joy
Prepare room in your heart for the Christ child. Prepare room in your heart for joy. Think of the many ways you experience joy in the Advent season: bells, candles, lights, carols, special food, gift giving, time spent with family and friends—all part of celebrating the birth of Christ. Reflect on the many ways you can share joy in the Advent season: giving to those in need, making a place for everyone at the table, greeting strangers, helping others, being a presence. Continue your own list. Thank God for the joy you experience and the opportunities to share it.
Today, God, I will share my experiences of joy in the presence of the Lord.