Joy and Peace, these are the words for the last 2 Sundays of Advent. I'm reminded of the Christmas carol, Joy to the World, that says, "repeat the sounding joy". I always read that phrase as to repeat the sounds of joy - as in cheer, laughter, or happiness. The sounds of children at Christmas. However, the definition of "sounding" as a noun is "a test, probe or sampling of opinion or intention. It's definition as an adjective is resonant, pompous or imposing.
The other day as I was sitting in a coffee shop pondering "repeat the sounding joy." How can I repeat the pompous, imposing joy and how would others test that? How would I test that? More importantly, how does Jesus test or probe to see the joy in my life?
Joy is not dependent on my circumstances or my emotions. It must be rooted in the stability and my faith in Jesus. I can be joyful when bills are due, I can be joyful when I'm not feeling well and I can even be joyful in rush hour traffic after work. (Ok, I must admit, that last one is harder for me and I have the opportunity to daily learn that one).
Joy is an attitude of my heart. Is Jesus first in my life? Am I serving others or myself? When I find myself getting tense and short with people, I have to ask myself, who am I serving and focusing on? Others or myself?
Another test of joy is peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace!
Isaiah 9:6 (NLT) For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
I love this verse with the names of God. They are wonderful reminders of His faithfulness to me.
As we end this season of Advent, may we enter into this intimate relationship with Jesus in a new way, regardless of our circumstances...may He be your Hope, your Love, your Joy and your Peace. He truly is faithful, wonderful, mighty, and everlasting!
Read the first 2016 Advent post.