Faith: Find joy by placing Jesus first
Joy is found as we honor Jesus first and consider others next
Advent is the season of preparation. We commemorate the Advent season with a wreath or display containing five candles, and one is lit each Sunday as a part of the Advent services.
Each of the Advent candle colors represents a specific element of spiritual readying for the celebration of Christmas. The three principal colors of Advent are packed with rich meaning.
Purple (or violet) has traditionally been the primary color of Advent, symbolizing repentance and fasting. Purple is also the color of royalty and the sovereignty of Christ, demonstrating anticipation of and reception of the coming King celebrated during Advent.
The first, second and fourth candles are purple.
But on the third Sunday of Advent we light a pink candle, named the Shepherd Candle or Candle of Joy. Pink or rose represents joy or rejoicing and reveals a shift in the season away from repentance and toward celebration.
To the believer, joy is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope. It is something or someone that provides a source of happiness.
During Advent, the reflection on joy comes after the expressions of hope and love.
Our modern culture is captivated by speed. Many businesses market themselves on their ability to deliver your request faster yet with accuracy and personal care.
Our communication methods are subject to the same constraints. Email has replaced cards and letters, and texting replaced email. When and where will it end?
I subscribe to the advice I received from a friend recently. He suggested that we embrace the KIS principle: Keep It Simple.
I trust that you are familiar with the acronym for joy — Jesus, others, you. While this might seem simplistic, they are exactly what Jesus taught.
Joy is found as we honor Jesus first. While being refuted by the Jewish religious leaders, "Jesus gave them this answer: 'Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.’" (John 5:19-20)
God incarnate, Jesus of Nazareth, was led by the Holy Spirit, guided by the revealed Word. How can we honor Jesus first? By seeking and following God’s revealed Word each day through our words and our actions.
Joy is found as we honor Jesus first and consider others next. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter characterized the life of Jesus when he stated, “… Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, ... He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38)
Jesus gave Himself for the needs of others. And He entrusts this same responsibility to you and me.
Joy is found as we place Jesus first, others next and ourselves last — but only as long as we last.
Jesus shed his blood upon the cross for our sin, yet they attempted to take his life sooner. The beating He received left Him unrecognizable as a man.
Sometime earlier in his ministry they attempted to throw Him over a cliff, but Jesus slipped through the midst of the crowd. Many times as the needs of the crowd pressed upon Him, Jesus would slip away for a time prayer and rest.
He compelled his disciples to do the same. Jesus understood the limitations of our humanity.
Let’s follow the example of Jesus as we shine with JOY this Christmas season.
Tim Walker is pastor at New Life Community Church in Pine River.