Joy completes our quarter of Advent themes leading to the lighting of the final and central “Christ” candle on Christmas Eve. It joins Hope, Love, and Peace – anticipatory, motivational, consequential and emotional responses to the coming of the Saviour of all who will bow before and entrust their souls to Him.
The dictionary defines “joy” as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” It suggests synonyms such as “bliss,” “happiness,” even “warm fuzzies.” One dictionary suggests, as an example of the word’s use, the sentence: “My car is my pride and joy!”
These definitions seem quite temporal in scope, attainment based, dependent on some passing thing for joy’s continuance. But in scripture “joy” is something much deeper, a well drilled by hope, buttressed by love and, by its eternal reliability and promise, a well of great peace of soul. It’s waters can be drawn upon when one feels faint, “for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). Though well water may not be bubbly, it is always pure, reliable, and refreshing.
John records much of Christ’s promises regarding the ultimate permanence and fullness of the joy He brings…
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11).
“…You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. …Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:20, 22).
“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (John 16:24).
This world has many trials, many sorrows, but the joy Christ provides will see us through them. And when the time of trials has ended this joy will shout its fullness.
“…I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they [all who trust in Him] may have the full measure of my joy within them.” (John 17:13).