Sermon Date: December 12, 2021
By Pastor Elaine Boone
3rd Sunday of Advent JOY
This morning I would like to begin my sermon with an Arabic Proverb
“Write the wrongs that are done to you in sand, but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble. Let go of all the emotions such as resentment and retaliation, which diminish you, and hold onto the emotions, such as gratitude and joy.”
These are wise words for our 3rd Sunday of Advent where the theme or tone is JOY!
Our readings today resound with joy and rejoicing. In our 1st reading we have the only place in scripture where the Lord sings to the Lord’s people! Isaiah emphasizes joy and singing and the reading from Philippians is one of the most joyous and uplifting in scripture.
Our Advent candle for today stands alone in a different colour. Demonstrating to us the importance of joy. Advent is a season of anxious expectation and hope and today is our final breath before the final plunge into the Christmas season.
A very good day to consider joy. Today is a day for joy! What is the joy to which we are called? Joy is more than a singular emotion or a feeling or a pleasure.
Paul tells us that joy is a way of life. Joy is THE way of life!
Consider for a moment what brings you joy? Do you find joy in this space? What causes your heart to sing and your voice to follow?
There is indeed great joy here. We celebrate, we sing, we hear the stories of the great things that God has done, the great things that God is doing and the great things that God will do.
This Advent season, this Christmas perhaps we will find great joy in just being able to be in this worship space. Perhaps we will find great joy in singing together - in sitting together.
Advent is a time of singing. Advent songs celebrate the season and express joy and thanks in expectation of what God will do.
Our reading from Isaiah emphasizes joy and singing. This passage is a hymn probably composed in the 500s BCE.
It is a prophetic song in 6 verses that bursts with joy and promises God’s presence. Isaiah’s song exudes confidence.
This is a song of praise, a shout of thanksgiving and exclamation of joy. Individuals and communities must sing because God is great and is close by.
Joy is a life that is caught up in the life of the God who stands beside us. Who is close by in times of adversity and fear and in times of happiness and comfort.
Why joy? Because God is with us as we hear in our 1st reading from Zephaniah “The Lord your God is in your midst.”
What brings you joy?
What stirs your heart to sing?
Addition to December 12th sermon
He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.
He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.
He did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy he cameto a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.
He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.
We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!
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