Today’s Word: ‘JOY’ as in… Immanuel, God with us, is coming!
On this Third Sunday in the Season of Advent, we getting closer to the celebration of Christmas! Pretty intense, isn’t it? So, how’s you “Joy-o-meter?” More to the point, how’s your “Stress-o-meter?” If you’re like, well, like a lot of people, it’s probably safe to say that the fine line between sheer joy and utter stress is beginning to blur.
This third weekend in the season of Advent is yet another reminder that while there still may be shopping to do and just over half of the chocolate in the Advent calendar has been consumed, the waiting is nearly over! In the Nativity scene under your tree, the donkeys, camels, sheep, angels and even the Wise Men are all present.
It’s almost perfect. All we need now is the birth of the baby, right?
All we need now is for Mary to deliver The Greatest Gift to the world and then it will be perfect. Christmas as usual, right? Isn’t that what we’re waiting for; Christmas as usual? The truth is, none of us is waiting for Christmas as usual, because for so many, usual Christmas is rarely what we hope for. While we do our best to plan it into perfection, more often than not we experience the opposite. We experience an emptiness that we’ve felt before.
But the story from the Gospel announces the Good News of a great joy centering in Jesus, the Savior of the world! The Messiah who is Christ the Lord is the one whose birth into our reality fills that empty place—all of those empty places! Immanuel—God is finally, fully with us which makes these word so joyful:
“Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”