Advent Week 3 - Joy
Soon, and very soon, we will be celebrating that God himself, Immanuel, makes room in himself and his creation to find and make his home among us. In the midst of the insecurity of a homeless journey and the instability of a new-born refugee's temporary home, the world found its 'stable' influence. We look ahead to the joy of incarnation: that the Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighbourhood.
In this 3rd advent week we set our joy to look through the stable to the Kingdom of God. We can find in adverse circumstances, that advent joy is wherever God is in the midst. Luke's angel announces 'good news of great joy for all the people'. It is a call to delight in the delight that God has in us and all creation. Maybe, there is joy to be found in waiting for joy?
God's people wait on the Isaianic promise of a new creation: that they will go out with joy, their fortunes restored, an era of the Lord's favour, where people will build houses and live in them, their efforts not wasted, their prayers answered. Zachariah and Elizabeth, childless for so many years, are promised joy and gladness in the birth of John. Mary, promised she bears a son, whose kingdom will have no end, finds her fear quelled as her spirit rejoices in God her Saviour.
In advent we also remember the joy of Jesus' search and rescue mission. The joy of the widow who finds the lost coin from her wedding band; of Zaccheus, that shamelessly running, hopelessly short, forlornly corrupt outsider, seeking Jesus as he passed by; for whom, Jesus stops and restores honour to his home. Zaccheus declares with gladness that he too is on God's side. He too is a son of Abraham. He too will enter the joy of the Lord and sit at his banquet table.
In this third week of advent, as we wait to rejoice in the birth, may the Lord surprise you with a surprising joy, may he find his home with you wherever you are; and as the revised common lectionary points us to the apostle Paul's blessing, "may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing..."
Kieran Webster - Chaplaincy Leader Wales
Readings: Isaiah 65:17-25 ; Luke 19:1-10