Thursday, December 09, 2010

How does God bring/grant us joy?

John Testifies About Jesus

John 1: 29-34
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said,“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself
did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did
not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”[d]


Joy has a way of evading us when we are looking for it. Those following John were so excited and enthused about his ministry
that they joyously began to exclaim that he must be the Messiah that they had been looking for. Earlier in Chapter 1 of John's
gospel, John refutes this claim and tells them, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

John let those listening know that he was not the messiah, but the announcer, and preparer for the Messiah. For John, his disciples and those looking for a Messiah, there was much more joy to come.

The same goes for us. We can search for happiness, joy and satisfaction and find that it usually sneaks up in unexpected places and times. Every day as I head up the hill to take me son to school, I see a yard decoration in the lawn of a home there that is counting down the days to Christmas. The sign is not "Christmas" itself, but a reminder of what is to come. However, this countdown to Christmas is a daily reminder through advent to think on the ways God has already granted hope, peace, and joy throughout each given day.

There are challenges in the way of making the path straight and we all have things that can put us off track. This morning, on my way to the office I started my car and it would not move. I backed up a bit and then slowly started creeping my way down the street. Something was not right. I got to the stop sign, and yes, my drivers side tire was totally flat. As I looked
at that tire and knelt in the slush after the jack slipped out of place twice, I was not thinking of joy, but of the frustration of the moment. But after a few minutes of struggle, not one but two people stopped to help me switch the tire out. The spare was almost flat, so I headed to the gas station to fill it. The tire filled and I was safely on my way to the shop. In this morning alone,
God has provided moments where joy has broken through even the coldest snow drifts: in those who stopped to help, those who listened to my problem, and those who helped drive me here and there - there was the joy. These folks became joy for me today.

A flat tire isn't the end of the world, but the ones that help, encourage in moments like this are like that Christmas countdown sign and the Apostle John to me. They remind me that we all have daily chances to "prepare the way" for Jesus and sometimes the joy activated by their actions might have them appear as "little Christs" to the world around them.

May we all be announcers for Jesus in this week of Joy, and my our eyes be opened to all the opportunities Joy is shining into each day of this third week of advent.

God's Peace,

No comments: