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Advent Joy

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Thank you for gifts
Drivers for Cookies
Christmas Eve Carols during the hour
I remember one christmas concert in my school years: it was the year we sang My Favorite Things (Julie Andrews).
Every year I begin to think of a list of my favorite things about the season of Advent and the Christmas celebration.
-Songs to sing
-favorite holiday memories (xmas stories, experiences, and pictures)
-decorating the house for christmas
-snowman dishes
-smells of trees and greenery
-baking goods & treats
-snow capped mountains
-xmas lights popping up around town
I find it interesting that Christmas is significantly connected to our feelings and emotions:
We use words like:
Christmas Spirit
Holiday Cheer
You will get a sentimental feeling (rocking around the xmas tree)
Merry Christmas
Bah, humbug!
We sing songs & hear them sung throughout the season such as:
Feliz Navidad, prospera ano y felizidad. I wanna wish you a merry christmas from the bottom of my heart.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, with the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you to be of good cheer, it’s the most wonderful time, it’s the hap-happiest season of all.
Have a Holly Jolly Christmas, it’s the best time of the year. I don’t know if there’ll be snow, but have a cup of cheer.
The emotions and feelings of Christmas are spoken of in literature and cinema:
“From home to home and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas brings us closer to each other. (Emily Matthews)
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t coe from a store? What if christmas perhaps means a little bit more? He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. (The Grinch and Dr. Seuss).
He became as good a friend, as a good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people lighted to see the alteration in him, but his own heart laughter; and that was quite enough for him.
he had no further intercouse with spirits; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.
May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless US, every one! Scrooge & Christmas Carol.
Hello Bedford Falls, Hello you wonderful ol building in loan, hello mister Potter!
Even Advertisers get into it:
It was once observed: “Once again we come to the holiday season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in their own way by going to the mall of their choice.
New trend among business is a movement from advertising about scarcity toward focus ad-campaigns that elicit or turn peoples emotional response into joy. Hence the term joy marketing is becoming quite popular, where businesses are hoping to connect with their audience on a deeper more meaningful level.
McDonalds—I’m loving it
Coca Cola- I’d like to buy the world a coke (1971) —> Taste the Feeling
Reddi-Whip—Unleash the Joy
West Jet (Canadian airline)
And Finally, there is a growing shift in the world of psychology that is focussing not on the problem but how to nurture and be aware of the things that bring happiness. research on happiness reveals that 25$ billion was spent last year on psycho-pharmacy. That’s $85 per US citizen a year. People are not just wanting to have problem solved and survive on medication, but they want to thrive.
Studies such as the World Happiness Report are helping sociologist, politicians, civic leaders, and people in general identify practical and tangible ways to mitigate stress and maximize joy & happiness.
One scientist stated, related to the policies and values of a scandinavian country: the system doesn’t make them happy, but keeps people from doing what will make them unhappy.
As a mater of fact, scientist, sociologists, and psychologist are able to determine some fascinating things related to happiness:
directly linked to our happiness is pleasure, purpose, and pride.
That one’s happiness & joy can be qualified in threee ways:
pleasant life (companionship, natural environment, and bodily needs)
good life (previous things stated, along with deep sense of fulfillment & employing them creatively to enhance your life)
meaningful life (previous things stated, along with a deep sense of fulfillment by mobilizing strengths for a purpose greater than one self)
Paying attention to what brings happiness and joy reveals the contrast of the individualist approach of life to the altruistic approach. movement to decrease individualism and place more emphasis on self-sacrifice.
Why do I bring this up to talk about Advent & Christmas Joy?
I find it interesting that this Christian Holiday and the way that it has expanded in expression and celebration, speaks to and highlights elements that resonate deep within our souls, our great human needs, and sparks great desires & longings.
Something about Christmas has the potential to lift our spirits and exploit our vulnerabilities.
As Christians this comes as no surprise, even when people do not know the entire story or the story gets lost among the clutter of commercialism. Yet if we pay attention at Christmas, and throughout the year, humanity and the world is yearning for something that the messages and themes of Advent & Christmas speak directly to.
This morning I am attempting to highlight the emotion and feelings of Christmas, that aren't just something once a year, but a part of what makes us human. And I want to make sure to point us to the source of God’s response & perspective of these emotions and feelings.
Joy in Scriptures:
Isaiah 61:1–4 ESV
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.
Isaiah 61:8–11 ESV
For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Their offspring shall be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.
Isaiah 61:8-11
SPEAK to essence of this passage
-reminder of God’s favor and year of Jubilee
For whom was God reaching out to?
-the promised one’s (House of David)
the barren
humble servants
those who fear him
not for the proud, mighty, rich, or exalted.
the hungry
Luke 1:26–38 ESV
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
where is emotion and feeling here? How is God speaking to Mary?
-greatly favored one
-greatly favored one
greatly troubled
do not be afraid
he will be, references
Surrender and let it be according to your word.
Let there be joy!
Luke 1:46–55 ESV
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
centered in the story of God at work in our lives, is this invitation to joy
centered in the story of God at work in our lives, is this invitation to joy
he has considered our estate
provided the means to respond to our brokenness, our affirmities, oppression, injusices, and wickedness.
reminder of the means by which God will go to reveal his love and redeem us from our sin.
Can’t overlook the invitation to joy, in spite of a lack of feeling happy &jyful or having emotions that are the opposite of happy and joyful.
-personally I struggle with being happy and joyful (tend to be fearful and anxious; in my life I have often asked God where He was and how will you ever bring good out of such immense pain and sorrow?
This Advent season has been pretty rough: my mom is in the midst of chemo therapy for breast cancer and both of the families of my brother are going through some pretty intense stuff. It’s not been easy to get into the Christmas Spirit and Be of Good Cheer. I recognize, as with many other, that this isn’t the easiest season to get in the mood.
Yet when I go through the stories, so familiar, I remember and know that there is Hope in christ.
Jesus came and He is the Prince of Peace (even amidst the places in our life that are not at peace). I know the peace which he has brought and ultimately brings.
When life unfolds in a way that seeks to diminish my joy, i will anchor to the reason for the season, i will allow the songs, stories, and memories that resonate from a God-infused need and longings woven into humanity and creation.
I will embrace the present moments and go deep into the ways the joy of Advent and Christmas season.
I will not choose to allow the consumption to exploit and manipulate my feelings and emotions.
—Revolution of Joy
reference back to the scripture from above.
The Magnificat declared by E Stanley Jones to be the most revolutionary document in the world. It isn’t a revolution that brings about bloodshed and violence, but it changes hearts and transforms society; to bring about hope and salvation based entirely upon the joyful announcement of the coming savior.
Morally—scatters the proud
socially—all people are precious in His sight
ecomically—$$ doesn’t matter if it takes you far from God. rather, hunger & thirst after righteousness (reminds me of the 3 types of happiness) movement from individualism to altruism…
what Did Elizabeth have to say in
Luke 1:42–45 ESV
and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
Find a way to wrap it up by speaking to how joy resonates with our deep longing and the way we feel and emote.
-Invites us to a depth, not fleeting exploitations of culture and commerce.
-acknowledges things in life that are in conflict with joy (pain, suffering, fear, anxiety, oppression, etc)
-confess the enduring source of our joy (revolution of joy)
Romans 16:26 ESV
but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—
Closing Words
Now to him who is able
Romans 16:24–26 ESV
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—
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