Thursday, December 25, 2008

Make Joy Complete... Advent of Joy #25

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched–this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”
1 John 1:1-5

I am so thankful for all of you who have gone on this journey with me. There have been ups and downs as I have tried to keep my mind focused on joy this season of Advent. And now here we are at the journey’s end.

Or are we?

Today is the day that we celebrate the ultimate gift our Father in heaven could give us.
His one, dear and precious Son.

Our journey to seeking His joy continues.

It is in the message of His Son that we continue to find joy. As John wrote above, we share the message of Christ, the Light of the world, to make our joy complete.

We can find joy from God, and He will be faithful to fill us with His joy, as we learn more about His love for us, and as we learn to love Him and others more. His joy will flow out of us to others. We will start to live in, and think in harmony with others, and our joy will grow as we live in joy and peace with each other. But above all else, our joy is completed when we share what we know of Christ with others. Because that brings them into fellowship with us, and their joy adds to ours, thus increasing joy for all of us.

We may be at the end of the official Advent season, but we are still on this journey… this journey of waiting for our Savior… this time waiting for Him to appear again. And we are waiting in joyful anticipation. As we wait we can share what we know with others. Our joy increases as more people are “added to our number” and we know that more and more people are waiting with joyful hope.

I am going to continue to look for aspects of joy. As I come across them, as I go through my days, I will share them with you. Because as I share aspects of joy, and get your responses, and see that God is touching your heart, my joy is also increased.

Not because I am getting affirmation for what I am writing (or from it, that it is the motivation… though I suppose some of that is there) but it is good to know that I am not on this journey alone. It is good to know that there are others struggling to find joy… even in the midst of troubles, pain, hardships… and that we are able to find that joy in those tough circumstances (or maybe becasue of them) because of Jesus.

No matter what our circumstances are today… on Christmas…

Whether we are together with family, in harmony, or struggling with strained family relationships;
Whether we are by ourselves or with friends;
Whether we are resting in a warm home with more than we need, or we find ourselves wanting have more for ourselves or others;
Whether we have all we need provided for us, or we don’t have all our basic needs met;
Rich or poor, blind or seeing, lame or walking, sick or healthy, deaf or hearing, mute or speaking, slave or free…

…we have Christ at the center if we are believers in Him and have repented of our wrong-doing, and asked for His forgiveness, asking Him to live with us, abide with us in our lives and in our hearts.

In that is everlasting joy. For in Christ alone are we saved. In Christ alone do we have our ultimate security, significance, acceptance, and purpose. For this life, and the one to come.
My being able to write these posts has been a joy. It has, at times, been hard to keep up. There have been some days that have been so hard, my words have dried up, and there was nothing to write… at least on my own. Then something would happen that would give me a spark. God would touch my heart and give me words to write. There were days that I was able to write my post for the next day, the night before… that was typical for me. But then there were the days that I wouldn’t be able to write in the evening. Or the morning a post was “due.” Or at noon. But finally something would help during the day, and I would find a scripture or an inspiration during the day, or from my quiet time.

It has been a difficult discipline to write every day.
Each day God has been faithful and given me words and reminded me of something that brings me joy.

Today I will close with a bit of joy.

I woke on Christmas day, anticipating going to the Christmas service at my parent’s church. I woke to my 2 year old daughter getting sick to her stomach, then snuggling up in bed with me. We fell back asleep. Then got up to have breakfast and she got sick again.

So started my Christmas morning.

My parents took Peter to church with them, and I stayed home with Marina.

We had soft music playing in the background, she fell asleep against me, and when I moved her over to the pillow on the couch, she stayed asleep, and we just had a beautiful, quiet morning.
What seemed like a bad thing, a sick daughter and missing church, ended up being a blessing and joy.

May your Christmas, even if it doesn’t go as planned, be filled with joy, and many reminders of the reason we celebrate.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.”
John 1:1-4

God bless you all.

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