You hear it in the silence of a bleak winter night. You see it in the eyes of a child waiting for their parents to say it’s time to come in the living room on Christmas morning. Anticipation – longing – joyful expectation of the coming of good.

The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment. – Frederick Buechner

Advent – joyful expectation of the coming of our King.

This season can be filled with chaos and grieving. It is easy to just sit back and wait for something…anything to come gives us that giddy feeling of wonder that we felt as a child at Christmas, that might maybe lessen the pain. We often try to create wonder and joy through gift-giving or through perfectionism masked as organization. We think that we can create joy.

“Joy is coming. It is inevitable. Like a woman in labor – joy will be birthed in the life of the believer and it will deliver us” (Ann Voskamp). Joy is not something we can create for ourselves. It is a direct result of the spirit of God that is given to us when we believe the message of Christ. Galatians 3:2 It is the fruit of that belief. Galatians 5:22.

And what is the message of Christ? The King has come, and His coming ushered a new Kingdom into the world – the way to the fullness of joy.  The life, death, and resurrection of the baby Jesus initiated a revolution. Behold, all things are being made new! All the broken places in the world and in our hearts being restored. Creation is groaning for complete restoration where there will be no brokenness. We groan along with them as we wait for His second coming in Advent.

The belief that yields joy is a belief that the waiting and the groaning of all things to be the way they should be is itself good.

“We find joy when we see and savor the Glory of God.” – John Piper 

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). We unwrap the gift of joy at Christmas when we come and sit with wonder at the manger scene and look at the face of the one who opens eyes that are blind, to free captive from prison and to release from the dungeons those who sit in darkness.

But we must make room to receive him in our hearts. We must prepare the way for Him to make His coming in our lives. We must take joy. Re-joy. Rejoice! We do this by en-joying, by seeing and savoring the goodness and beauty of the message of Christ all around us – by training our eyes in all of the lights to see the light of the World, in all of the faces around us, the radiance of Christ’s beauty, in all of the giving and receiving of gifts, the grace of the giver of life. We train our hearts to hear the echo of a different song behind the jingle bells at the cash register – one that requires faith to hear.

Joy is free. Joy is available at any moment. Oh come let us adore Him and be adorned. Come let us behold Him and be held. Come let us rejoice in His coming and receive joy.

Joy to the world
Joy to the world
Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing

Continue in Advent