joyful hope

What did you go out to the desert to see?

-Matthew 11:7

Advent is the season of patience. It begins, it seems, as we wait for the days to begin to get longer. For me, the darkness that comes earlier and earlier in the evening is sometimes unbearable. And yet, when I drive home after a long day of work and darkness surrounds me, the beautiful Christmas light displays seem to light my way home.

When I consider the people in my life who are living saints, one of the qualities that I find in several people is joy, a theme that returns again and again. My dear friend whose hair is returning after months of chemo and radiation never seemed to be without at least a tiny bit of joy in the face of her illness; a twinkle in her eyes; an appreciation for all her gifts. Another friend who works tirelessly for the homeless in her community does every act of charity with a joyfulness that inspires me. Even that perfect stranger that I saw at the mall last night who was joyfully singing along to the piped-in Christmas carols had an air of sainthood about her.

In Advent, we wait in joyful hope. But does the joy come first? Am I joyful as a result of the waiting? Or do I have a joyful view of life that is only strengthened and increased when I contemplate the birth of Christ? Our God, the one who became man, wants our full flourishing. As I wait in joyful hope, I ask myself: What do I go out to the desert to see?

2 thoughts on “joyful hope

  1. Hi Becky,
    I think the answer to your question is that “joy” is to be a choice of the believer, as in something that is first chosen and then, in the walking out of faith, seen to become manifest. A bit like forgiveness – we are called to forgive before the sun sets, even the most heinous sin against us, an impossibility in human terms. In God’s world however we state forgiveness upfront, and find the power of unforgiveness over us melts.

    His call to “not be afraid” is not in response to our feeling afraid. It is a command that stands whether we are in a ‘feeling afraid’ phase or a victorious ‘we-can-conquer-the-world’ phase. It is as if fear negates faith, and the presence of the tiniest quantity of fear states to all watching that faith does not exist here. It’s a decision to trust, to “not let your hands be weak”.

    Likewise joy. We are to state things that do not exist as tho they do. We are to expect joy, and in the expectancy, experience joy. Again it’s almost as if God can only meet one within the space created by the size of expectancy. Maybe that’s why Jabez’ prayer was granted – because he asked for a bigger space.

    So ‘joy to the world’ means a people sent out into the world exhibiting not what is to be expected ‘given the circumstance’ but rather exhibiting joy despite circumstance, because we are not ruled by circumstance. It’s time we showed the world that we will actually walk this walk the way this walk was meant to be walked.. His way, His will

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  2. Bexz:
    I go into the desert to connect. I enter the desert hopeful that I will be able to connect. My time of waiting, my time of preparation is also a time to connect to God. I want to connect to get the help, boost, lift I need to prepare for His birth. And also to prepare my self, my heart and my soul for His arrival.

    Please keep writing Becky, it touches many.

    Timz

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