Reflections on Advent – Joy

Oftentimes, those who have experienced deep sorrow are able to experience even deeper joy.  So has been the case during seasons in my life, and surely was the case for the Israelites.  After years of wandering, captivity, oppression, and worse: Silence from their God, they had experienced a great sorrow.  But there were rays of hope; promises that God would come through.  Can you imagine the hope, anticipation, and even joy that the Israelites would have felt when hearing this prophesy?

Isaiah 9:2-7

 2 The people walking in darkness

   have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of deep darkness

   a light has dawned.

3 You have enlarged the nation

   and increased their joy;

they rejoice before you

   as people rejoice at the harvest,

as warriors rejoice

   when dividing the plunder.

4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,

   you have shattered

the yoke that burdens them,

   the bar across their shoulders,

   the rod of their oppressor.

5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle

   and every garment rolled in blood

will be destined for burning,

   will be fuel for the fire.

6 For to us a child is born,

   to us a son is given,

   and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the greatness of his government and peace

   there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne

   and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it

   with justice and righteousness

   from that time on and forever.

Even in the midst of difficult seasons of life, I know that I have a Wonderful Counselor, an everlasting Father, and a Prince of Peace.  What joy!

When I think of the joy of advent, it reminds me of a song that starts out in minor chords, and resolves with major Chords.  Those who have walked in darkness (hear the minor chord) have seen a great light (transitioning to major).

Here is one of my favorite songs of joy of the Christmas season:

O come, O come, Emmanuel

And ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appear

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer

Our spirits by Thine advent here

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night

And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,

And open wide our heavenly home;

Make safe the way that leads on high,

And close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

How are you reflecting on joy this Christmas season?

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