Today marks the Third Sunday of Advent. And Today’s candle represents “joy”.
In September of 1955, author C.S. Lewis’ spiritual autobiography was first published and its title was Surprised by Joy. In that text Lewis described his first experience of Joy – at the age of six.
He described a sensation overcoming him as “enormous bliss.” For years he sought, to “imprison joy”, and at times – got brief stabs of it through music, books and walks…but when “joy” did not remain, he became worried that it would not come again.
He wrote, “all my waiting and watching for “joy”, all my vain hopes to find some mental context on which I could, so to speak, lay my finger and say, “this is it!”, has become a futile attempt.” Joy – as an idol – is always inadequate. All the experience of joy in the end were saying to Lewis, “It is not I. I am only a reminder. Look! Look! What does joy remind you of?” It was when God closed in on Lewis and in turn he believed and confessed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God that he awoke – for the first time – to Joy as a person.
In response to the First Advent– we now know that our whole life is based on delight – true joy – on what God has done in Jesus Christ. No wonder the Angel says to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid; I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”
The Old prophet Isaiah reminds us that we who are ransomed obtain both joy and gladness: And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. (Isaiah 35:8-10)
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.