With Joy

The gospels provide moving moments of joy in the Christmas story. Matthew 2 describes the wise men following a star seeking Christ. The star brings them to Him and “they were filled with joy! (Matt. 2:10, NLT).” The presence of Christ brought them joy. Luke 2 recounts the declaration of Christ’s birth, in which the angel states, “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior- yes, the Messiah, the Lord- has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! (Luke 2:10-11, NLT).” The presence of Christ would bring joy for all.

Life is full of experiences that do not bring joy; moments of pain, grief, disappointment, and anxiety just to name a few. This was also true back in the time of Christ’s birth, and it is still true today. It can be difficult to find joy in moments where there is no reason for joy, or where our expectations for joy don’t match our reality. Just as each of us has our own experience and perspective, our joy (or lack thereof) is just as unique. Those feelings and experiences are real and valid.
And yet in those experiences, hope is present. God, the One who brings joy for all of us, is with us in everything we go through. He is present with us in the pain, grief, and anxiety we experience just as much as He is in moments of joy. He is with us in all that we feel. We can acknowledge our feelings in present circumstances and have hope for our future; a hope brought to us by our Savior. We may not feel joy right now, but the One who brings ultimate joy and hope is, and will be, with us always.  

As we reflect and celebrate Advent this year, and years to come, let us ponder what the presence of Christ in each of our lives means. Let us reflect on what the joy of God’s presence in our world means. And finally, may we consider how to care for each other in moments where joy may be missing or difficult to find.  
Katie Wagner
Intern Chaplain at Adventist Health and a Student at Fuller Seminary

No Comments