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16 & 17 December 2023 (Pastoral Page) ADVENT 3 – THE JOY OF CHRIST

By Dn Cheryl Toi


On this third Sunday of Advent, we will be focusing on Joy. What brings you joy? For some, it is when you receive a present you love, or when you get to go on a long-awaited vacation, get that promotion at work, or when you get married or have a newborn baby.

 

The Bible says that joy comes from the Lord. This joy that comes from God is not fleeting or based on our circumstances. Rather, it is rooted in Christ.

 

Nehemiah 8:10 – the joy of the Lord is your strength

Philippians 4:4 - Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Isaiah 12:6 - Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

 

When we celebrate Christmas, we remember Jesus’ birth and rejoice for God has fulfilled His promise by giving us a Saviour. Before Jesus was born, God’s people waited expectantly for the promised Messiah. They found joy in knowing what God would do. When Jesus came to earth to dwell among His people, He taught them about God so that they will be filled with His joy and their joy will overflow. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete”. (John 15:11).

 

We may not have Jesus in the flesh with us today but we have His Word and believers have been given the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit fills us with joy and compels us to share this same joy with those around us. We can be joyful knowing that God is with us, always.

 

Since I prayed to receive Christ, I have experienced the joy of the Lord. It is a steady, inexplicable joy of knowing Him and being filled with His love and hope. I rejoice in knowing that God, full of compassion, grace and mercy, loves His people and will fulfil His promises. When I face trials, troubles or disappointments, His Word reminds me that I can find joy in Him despite my circumstances for He is with me.

 

The apostle Paul wrote about joy in his letters, encouraging believers to be joyful even in difficult circumstances. If you are going through a difficult season, know that God has given us joy to navigate these challenging situations. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom 15:13).

 

I would like to share a song that encourages me and reminds of the joy of knowing Christ especially during difficult seasons in my life:

 

Knowing You by Graham Kendrick

All I once held dear, built my life upon

All this world reveres, and wars to own

All I once thought gain I have counted loss

Spent and worthless now, compared to this

 

Knowing You, Jesus

Knowing You

There is no greater thing

You're my all, You're the best

You're my joy, my righteousness

And I love You, Lord

 

Now my heart's desire is to know You more

To be found in You and known as Yours

To possess by faith what I could not earn

All-surpassing gift of righteousness

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