Joy & Peace - Week 3 Advent Reading: Genesis 21:1-6, Luke 1
Sarah said, ‘God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.'” Genesis 21:6 NIV
Set apart from the fleeting feeling of happiness, joy defines what Jesus came to give. In Christ, joy flows through our lives. Sarah was ninety …of course, she laughed at the thought of giving birth. (Genesis 18) Yet as God promised, she and her 100-year old husband Abraham had a son named Isaac …which means “he laughs.” Life isn’t always funny, but it is overflowing with joy …if we choose to accept it. Zechariah, when an angel of the Lord foretold John the Baptist (his son)’s birth, this was his initial reaction:
“How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” (Luke 1:18 NIV)
Elizabeth did give birth in her old age, much like Sarah! But this time, John the Baptist, who the angel said would be filled with the Holy Spirit, and great in the sight of the Lord. (Luke 1:14-16) As we read through this week’s Advent readings, we can be reminded of the impossible joy and peace the Lord brings to our lives, through Christ Jesus, in His perfect timing.
God loves us completely, and we are made to journey in joy! His love doesn’t lessen when we fall down. In fact, He seeks to share a laugh with us and reveal joy in hard moments. He’s accepted us. That’s why Jesus was born. Christmas is closeness with God. Joy is the attitude of gratitude.
In the North where I live, Christmastime signals every bird that can’t bear the winter’s cold to start flocking together. Millions of birds dance together in the sky, instinctively gathering and swooping and soaring until they’ve accumulated enough of a mass to drift as a dark “bird cloud” away with the warm air.
“…Look at them fly. It looks like God is taking pretty good care of them, doesn’t it? Remember that you are more precious to God than birds!” Luke 12:24
Birds are not even in my top 100 of favorite …or even likable creatures. Yet, over the years, I’ve come to admire the way they just know what to do. Luke wrote,
“…God cares for every little sparrow …Since you are so much more precious to God than a thousand flocks of sparrows, and since God knows you in every detail—down to the number of hairs on your head at this moment—you can be secure and unafraid…” (Luke 12:6-7)
Birds don’t realize they are small or incapable. They operate confidently on carefully designed instincts. Humans seek to be loved because deep within the design of our nature is a Creator who is love. Our confidence is found in Him, through Jesus.
“My little flock, don’t be afraid. God is your Father, and your Father’s great joy is to give you His kingdom.”Luke 12:32
He came into this world a small baby in a manger. His light caused others to flock to Him and follow Him, shifting and moving and gathering and cackling and spreading the Word. Long after Christ gave His human life on the cross, the birds continued to fly and stories of Jesus spread. His Word still flutters and gathers. Christian faith is moving and shifting. God’s not surprised. We all instinctively seek the joy of Jesus. The joy and peace we have in Jesus are immeasurable.
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