John 15: (Jesus said) " 9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete."
May the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love of God be present in your life through the presence of the Sacred Spirit.
Are you ready for it?
"Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; let every heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and Nature Sing, And Heaven and Nature Sing and Heaven and Heaven and Nature Sing."
Ready or not, the season to celebrate the birth of Jesus is upon us. The season of peace, hope, JOY and love. But what happens when this time of year does not seem very joyous?
A couple of weeks back, Michelle, the kids and I began to decorate our house for Christmas. Tree, ornaments, crèche sets, mistletoe and various black Santa figures adore our living room. It's always a time of excitement and joy for the kids to experience as it is for Michelle and I. However, as you get older there are other emotions and feelings which flow from your heart.
Looking through old Christmas cards, remind us of family and friends who are no longer in the flesh with us. Ornaments on the tree take us back to other places we called home but we no longer live in these parts of the world. Even looking at the kids school projects from years ago is a reminder of just how fast they are growing.
Yes, there are feelings of sorrow and encounters with grief during, "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year." These feelings are normal to experience and encounter as we stroll down memory lane.
But the presence of these heavy emotions need not stand alone and weigh us down. For in tandem with the weight of the world we are also invited to experience the joy of heaven. Sorrow and joy occupy the same space in our lives for they are not mutually exclusive. It is sorrow which drives me to the joy of the Lord and it's the joy of the Lord which empowers me to live with my grief and sorrow.
Remember, joy and happiness is not the same thing. There are many times we can experience unhappiness yet we can have joy. Joy in my heart will not always be reflected in a smile on my face because joy is a gift from God which sits deep within our soul. Yes, even when I am in full fledge sorrow, I still have joy to sustain and strengthen my life.
Consider this for the gift of joy: joy is not a feeling we experience but joy is a reality which lives in us that no matter what we have complete trust in God. Complete trust leads to the freedom found in joy because no matter what goes wrong, we trust God will make it right. Oh, Joy.
In the midst of any heaviness or heartache this Advent and Christmas season, know the joy given through Jesus which makes our lives complete.
Love, Pastor G