Advent | Week 3: JOY

Pastor Lauren shares this week with part 3 of our Advent series on Joy. 2020 has been rough and it’s can be hard to be joyful during trying seasons. The good news is that God is trustworthy – we can trust His ways. Mary and Jospeh had very different plans for their lives and marriage. But I believe, that even in their circumstance, they found joy. Although God’s actions were beyond human comprehension. Similarly, they may have faced misunderstanding and questioning looks from those around them. Mary and Joseph willingly followed God’s guidance.

We sing about it (Joy to the World, the Lord is come), and think that it is an automatic reality at Christmas. Real joy comes from following God’s way. In reality, this season can be hard for many. And if we think about it, it was pretty hard for Mary and Joseph, too. The nativity we have in our mind is perfectly quiet animals that don’t stink in a barn. That it’s nicely lit by the glow of angels singing. We naturally think it was all comfort and joy, peace on earth. The nativity scene was in fact, messy, noisy, uncomfortable. Childbirth is never easy. it requires sacrifice and risk. But as a mom, it’s worth it.

God’s way isn’t always easy because it also requires sacrifice and risk. But as someone who’s been there, its worth it, and that’s where true joys found – right in the middle of living in God’s will. We may try to manufacture happiness and joy, but it will only come to us as we go to God and His plans for our lives. We can try to manufacture it…experienced this myself recently. God cares for you, watches over you, and guides your steps.  Joseph came to the best decision of obedience and surrender to God’s plan and made his choice clear. Mary said May it be to me as you have said, and because of that they lived out the greatest story in human history.

I imagine that brought some joy. Immanuel – God is with you. Regardless of the surrounding circumstances and feelings – sing:  “Joy to the World” knowing that Jesus has come to be with you each and every day – no matter what! No matter the risk, no matter the sacrifice, God’s ways are better, He always saves, and there is joy in His presence. 

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