December 13, 2015
Advent – Joy
Advent is the season of remembering the first appearing of Jesus Christ – in the humblest of births – and also of hopeful anticipation of his second appearing, when he will come as both King and Judge. The four weeks of Advent are oriented around four themes: hope, peace, joy, and love. This past Sunday, we celebrated the third week of Advent with an important message on joy from Pastor Andy.
We often confuse joy and happiness, but the two are very different. Andy gave us three vital distinctions between the two that we must remember in order to fully enter into the joy God has given us in Jesus Christ.
The important point is this: joy is not being in a good mood; joy is believing the Good News. You don’t need to walk around all day with a smile on your face to be a good Christian. It’s okay to not be okay. Happiness is the proper emotional response to good circumstances in your life, but it’s not always appropriate to be happy. Joy transcends happiness as the eternal transcends the temporary. In Christ, we have access to a much greater reality than what we experience each day.
There are three things that we must do in order to maintain access to the infinite and eternal joy we find in Christ.
First, we must take our sorrow to God in prayer. God cares about the painful circumstances in our lives. Some would even say that he cares more than we possibly could! He wants us to bring our sorrows to him.
Second, we must engage in life-giving fellowship with other believers. We need one another in order to follow Jesus well. For this reason, Hope will be starting small groups at the end of January. Christianity is not meant to be lived alone, and we want everyone to be intimately connected to the lives of others.
Third, we must believe the Good News. Believing the good news, not just in your head but in your heart and out your hands and feet and mouth is what makes all the difference.