December 1, 2022, Joy
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4, 4 + 5
Are you looking forward to the Christmas season? Are you looking forward to being with your family again? Are you looking forward to the decorated Christmas tree and presents? Or would you prefer to do without Christmas? Is this Christmas rather a burden for you, instead of a celebration, because you are lonesome? Because you face hardships in life?
The apostle Paul rejoices for only one reason: he belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ. This alone is the reason for his joy. He does not look at his situation in life, but at Jesus Christ, his Savior and Redeemer. He looks at the cross of Golgotha, on which the love of God hangs with outstretched arms and invites every person to come to HIM. Jesus rejoices when we come to HIM. He says (Gospel of Luke 15, 7):
“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent.”
As Christians we have reason to rejoice because Jesus Christ gives us a new life. Because we experience every day that we are beloved people. God's love comforts us especially when life's circumstances are difficult. God's love also carries us through difficult times.
Have you put up an Advent wreath again this year? Or is only a single candle burning? It doesn't matter! Either way, you must light the candle if you want to enjoy its light. The candle does not burn by itself. No candle burns by itself! Even electric candles need to be plugged in. And so is the same with joy. The joy of Jesus Christ does not come by itself. This joy comes only from Jesus Christ himself. Only He can make this joy burn in our hearts.
A burning candle can bring a warm light into a dark room. It is the same with the joy that Jesus Christ brings. This Jesus´ joy radiates goodness and kindness into our surroundings. Other people can see and feel this goodness and kindness. Just as a scented candle fills a room with light and fragrance, the joy of Jesus Christ can fill our surroundings with goodness and kindness. As Christians we can bring this “Jesus-joy” into the hearts of our families, to our neighborhoods, to our circle of friends, to our community. We give away goodness and kindness.
For me, goodness and kindness are like two little sisters of the great charity. Just imagine that you have these two little sisters on your hand when you meet any person. You bring goodness and kindness into the conversation. You bring goodness and kindness to wherever you are going. In everything you do, you have goodness and kindness with you. I think that is how you bring joy to other people. Yes, you even bring Jesus Christ very close to your fellow human beings. Rejoice in this!