Advent Devotions 2017
December 15, 2017
A mother looks deep into the eyes of her infant son, as she holds his hands and pours out babbling baby-talk to him. She cuddles and hugs him, tickling his attraction to mom, and then he breaks out in that adult-disabling smile. She melts with joy. It’s like a flash-hug from God. Engaging love is a seed to joy.
There are many other Joy seeds planted in God’s Creation. Consider the beautiful foliage we’ve witnessed this fall. Remember driving through those scenes of magnificent splendor with colors expertly composed to inspire us? Only God could arrange such universally understood communications, which transform into breath-taking flashes of joy; in short, reminder-hugs from God through Creation. The Old Testament, particularly Psalms, is full of God’s joy-hugs. The NRSV translation mentions joy 267 times in the Old Testament and 60 times in the New Testament, and many of these feature God’s engagement with humans through some form of Creation: the stars, sky, mountains, and feelings of outpouring beauty and love. A God-hug, from a God who hugs.
Ever noticed there are no “ugly” colors in nature? It has been said that nature wears the colors of the Spirit…and on purpose. That’s to remind us of God-hug seeds all around us.
Another joy seed is music. It has been said that music is the mediator between the secular and the spiritual. I believe this is so true, and especially joyful at RRCB. One example begins at every Sunday morning worship service, when the choir’s Introit unfolds from the Narthex and filters out into the Nave as hundreds of floating joy-seeds mixed with spirit broadcasts and surrender buds. Truly a worshipful God-hug through music.
What did Jesus say about Joy? “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you.” John 15:11 (MSG)
As told by Luke, noting that perhaps the second individual to experience Advent Joy, beyond Mary’s, was by, yet unborn, John the Baptist. Remember: “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly, you’re so blessed among women, and the babe in your womb, also blessed! And why am I so blessed that the mother of my Lord visits me? The moment the sound of your greeting entered my ears, the babe in my womb skipped like a lamb for sheer joy.” Luke 1:39-45 (MSG)
Advent is a time of waiting, preparation, and anticipation that ends with the commemoration of the world’s greatest Joy of all times, the birth of Jesus. As Christians, we pray that the Holy Spirit will, through God’s grace, continue to ring our human joy bells in celebration of His divine gift, and help us direct our love, meditation, prayers and service to others.
Written by C. Page Highfill
Art by Ailea