Today is the third Sunday of Advent. Did you notice that the color of the third candle of the Advent wreath lit today was rose? The rose candle is a combination of the purple of the liturgical season mixed with white, which symbolizes joy. At the midpoint of the season of Advent, the Church pauses to celebrate and rejoice with joy at the coming of Christ.
Joy? JOY?! How can we have joy? Our life is a whirlwind of activity: the bills are past due, there are presents still to buy, we are behind on making costumes and set scenery for the kid’s Christmas pageant, the house still needs to be decorated, there are cookies to be baked…and Christmas is right around the corner! We are so glad that Christmas only comes once a year!
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechari′ah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 1:39-45
My prayer is that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you will be filled with joy at the coming of our Lord this Christmas. May you leap for joy as John the Baptist did in Elizabeth’s womb at the sound of Mary’s voice. Focus on the Christ Child, not on the business of the season.
And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:8-11
Allow the light of Christ to warm you and fill you with great joy. As the angel spoke to the lowly shepherds, this good news is for “all” people. Claim the good news. Ask Christ to come into the heart of your family. May He be the center of everything you do this season. Ask Him to fill you with great joy. The ask God to show you who is in need of companionship or assistance and He will guide you to those who are in most need of His love and mercy.
Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24
Joy is found in taking the focus off of oneself and placing it on others. Helping others will bring you great joy. To help you remember the key to finding joy in your life, your focus should follow this order of priority…
Great joy is found in focusing first on Jesus, then on others and lastly on yourself. When you give Jesus and others first place in your life, we assure you that you will have little time to focus on the business of your schedule. Focus on serving your spouse and your family. Find ways for your family to help those in need during the seasons of Advent and Christmas. Reach out to those who may be alone and invite them to participate in your Christmas celebrations. There are many lonely people this time of year that could use some simple kindness. Nursing homes are filled with people that have no one to visit them. Look for ways to be a blessing to others. It is in giving the love we have received from Christ to others that we find great joy!
Peace, blessings and joy in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.