John 15:9-11 – Jesus said, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." (NIV)
During the Advent season, as we journey towards the manger and as we light the third candle on our Advent wreath, let us journey with joy.
The third candle in the Advent wreath is often a different colour. On many wreaths, the third candle is a rose colour, which symbolizes the Christmas joy. It is lit on the day that many churches have chosen to focus on what we call "blue Christmas", that is, upon those people who are approaching the season with a heavy heart because, for whatever reason, it is difficult to be happy this Christmas.
The Candle of Joy recognizes the fact that as we journey through Advent, some of us come with hurts and losses in our lives.
Today's scripture relates how our joy can be complete — how we can have joy in the midst of hurting and amid losses in our lives. Our joy comes as we turn to God's love and allow God's love to surround us. When we learn to nurture our love relationship with God and then, in turn, love those around us, our joy will be complete.
"Joy to the world! the Lord is come: let earth receive its King; let every heart prepare him room and heaven and nature sing!"
As we continue our journey to the manger, let us come with hope … and peace … and joy … for the great gift of God's Son.
Prayer: Loving God, we thank you for your gift of joy. We thank you that we can have joy even when we are hurting. We thank you that you love us and that we can love you in return. Help us to nurture our love relationship with you. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.