With all the noise in the world, do you hear the voice of God? Your calendar tells you what to do, but do you remember who you are? Being comes before doing. This is a call to put first things first. Return to the Lord with this daily pattern of prayer and devotion. Set aside this time as a sanctuary. Find a space free of distraction and follow this pattern.
Make the sign of the cross and say,
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
If you have an advent wreath, light three candles for hope, peace, and joy, and pray:
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. The light no darkness can overcome.
Jesus, thank you for coming to dwell with me. Brighten the dark places in my life. Show me where you are working and teach me to respond with joy. Amen.
Word: Nehemiah 8:10
“This day is holy to our Lord. The joy of the Lord is your strength.”
We are focusing on the traditional themes of the Advent candles. Today’s theme is joy. I have always struggled with joy. Is it possible to sing joyful songs if you don’t feel like it? Can you put a smile on your face when there’s nothing to smile about? It’s really hard for me to be fake. I don’t like it when joy is forced. Or when it seems like a fantasy or a myth.
You can’t make yourself be joyful. You can try to bring a little Christmas joy: put up lights. Buy presents. Have a drink. Those things may bring happiness for a moment. But not joy. We see situations of pure misery around us. I wonder if talk of joy can come across as insensitive. Is this the right time to talk about joy?
My thoughts on joy changed a while back. When I discovered that joy is not a feeling. It is a result of a reality. We don’t have to force joy. Joy springs spontaneously when God does something wild and crazy. Barnyard birth. Golgotha victory. Divine rescue. Unexpected mercy. This is cause for joy. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10) It’s the Lord’s. It comes from him. And we don’t have to fake it.
Prayer for Rest
· For physical, mental, and emotional health.
· For times of joy, delight, and leisure.
· For a Sabbath day free from work, tasks, and stress.
· For a holy time of worship.
Lord, today I confess my lack of joy. I can’t make myself feel something. I need “the joy of the Lord.” You are my Source and strength. I ask you for the gift of joy in Jesus’ name. Amen.