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Joy | Advent Journey

“The Joy of the Lord is My Strength” Nehemiah 8:10

My heart has always been to encourage people where they may be in life. Let’s face it – at some time or another, we are all confronted with challenging circumstances. I find this passage to be timely as we celebrate Advent during these uncertain times– COVID-19 with its separation and loneliness, social unrest, financial stress, and the list goes on. During these difficult seasons of our lives, it’s not our own strength that will put us over. We need something more to see us through.

In Paul’s letter to Philippi, he mentions the word “joy” or “rejoicing” 16 times. Why is that fascinating? We often forget that these words were penned inside a Roman prison. He was falsely accused, shipwrecked, bitten by a snake and left under house arrest for 2 years. He had all the reasons in the world to complain. Yet, he shifts his focus to joy and his attitude towards rejoicing.

How can Paul write to the Church to remain joyful, to keep on rejoicing? Paul discovered that the source of his joy was not temporal and had nothing to do with his environment or physical well-being – again, he was in prison. Paul found joy in Jesus Christ. He knew this life is temporal, so he fixed his eyes on what is eternal.

Nehemiah 8:10 tells us there is a joy that comes from God alone. This joy is not something we can create. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit made available to the children of God. Advent is a time to pause and turn our eyes upon Jesus, where we find His joy!

How is your joy today? Let us learn from Paul – rejoice in the Lord and no matter what life brings us, rejoice! For God knows exactly what you’re facing right now. God is with you, and His joy is yours for the asking.

– Kevin Schlechter,
Regional Director for Ontario and Nunavut Region

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