Tonight, we light the third candle of the Advent season representing JOY.  We await the arrival of our savior in a spirit of joy knowing Jesus comes to break the yoke of bondage and remove the sting of death. Heaven and earth rejoice together during Advent and sing:

Joy to the world, the Lord has come
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare him room
And heaven and nature sing.

Our focus this week in Advent is to make room in our hearts and lives to receive Jesus. It’s our job to intentionally and immediately set off all the superficial demands of life that continually draw us away from our primary purpose of worship. We must pull away from the noise of the holiday and the demands of our schedule to prepare the way of the Lord.  Just as we make room in our homes when it’s time to birth and bring home our babies, we must willingly make space in our hearts for the arrival of Immanuel – God who came to be WITH us – at Christmas. 

Joy is present both in the waiting and in the arrival. Joy is both a promise and a feeling. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit and our strength.  Joy overflows abundantly in a life filled with hope, peace, and love, all characteristics of Advent. We rejoice over Jesus, but more importantly, Jesus rejoices over us because “joy is the serious business of heaven” (C.S. Lewis).

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will REJOICE over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” ~ Zephaniah 3:17