We have lit again the two candles in our Advent wreath, to remind us of God's gifts of hope and peace. Today we will light the third candle, the pink one, representing joy.
As we wait for Christmas, the birth of Jesus, we look forward to the joyful celebrations we will share with those we love. The prophet Isaiah calls us to rejoice, because God will make the desert bloom and will call the people to return home on a great highway. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the angels brought "good news of a great joy, which shall be to all people." The good news of Jesus' birth and the promise of Shalom are still "tidings of great joy" for us today.
Isaiah says, "Everlasting joy shall be upon their heads." The third candle reminds us of our joy in Jesus Christ.
Thank you, God, for the gift of joy. Help us to recognize the moments of joy in our lives, and to live joyfully so that others may be filled with the joy that comes from knowing Jesus Christ. Amen!