Advent Joy Devotional
Joy is something we all desire, but something that so often eludes us. Why is that? I would say part of the elusiveness of joy is trying to fill a spiritual need with a physical solution. We think that more money, a bigger house, a nicer car, and so on will provide the joy we are longing for. Perhaps it’s not material possessions but we think new friends, a different spouse, or a better job will surely fulfill us and bring joy. Just like oil and water do not mix, a physical solution for a spiritual need leaves us empty and wanting more. Jeremiah tells us, “for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13). We spend our lives making cisterns (physical) that cannot hold living water (spiritual).
This Advent season as we reflect and meditate on the gift of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God who became a man for us we can learn how to obtain joy. Through His life we see the path we need to follow in order to obtain joy. Hebrews 12:2 says, “…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Our Savior knew the cross was coming, endured it, and was joyful through the entire process. How? First, Jesus knew He would be reunited with His Father in Heaven and would sit at the Father’s right hand. Secondly, he knew what his death would accomplish, His blood would redeem God’s people and bring them back into relationship with God, the Father. In short He was able to see the crown beyond the cross!
Likewise, that’s why James tell us, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” (James 1:2-3) It is through the suffering and hardships of life that we can find joy, not in the accumulation of physical things or a better situation in life. The reason that we are able to endure is that there is a crown that awaits us beyond the trials of various kinds. Through our steadfastness, and by the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit joy becomes a more prominent part of our life. The broken cisterns become whole and the living water overflows out of our life into the lives of others as we experience the joy of life.
And so as we celebrate the first Advent, we live in a second Advent as we wait for Jesus to come again knowing that our joy will be made complete. Come, Lord Jesus, come!