~ Isaiah 35:1-10 ~
Today is the Sunday of Joy. The Joy of God. As we saw in the last two weeks, in preparing for the coming of the Christ, we are called to wake up to the hope we have in his coming and to focus our vision to seek the peace of God –the peace that only God can give – that peace that comes when we turn from this world and see his world. Today we turn to joy.
The Joy that comes from God is not something that we can seek. It is something that overtakes us while we are working to keep the vision of Christ’s presence alive and as we are walking the path that Jesus has set before us. As we walk that path joy happens to us. We gain glimpses of what it is that God is about. We encounter situations where we see God’s promises coming true and we have this great joy in our hearts. Joy happens to us.
Joy happens in anticipation of God’s work of redemption. Isaiah speaks of such joy.
“The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing”
Many of you, much more than I, know the joy of a flower blossoming. It is a wonder of nature. You know the joy of anticipation as you await that blossoming. So Isaiah got it right as he sought to find a way to express the coming of God.
“Here is your God…Who will come and save you.
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the dears of the deaf unstopped,
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.”
God is at work. And God’s people are the blessed recipients of God’s labor. And so,
“They shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
Joy happens in being part of something that is much bigger than ourselves.
Today is the Advent Sunday of Joy. Do we dare let joy overtake us? Overwhelm us? Can we envision whatever desert is in our lives to blossom with joy? Then keep working the vision of Christ’s presence. Keep walking the path Jesus has set before you. In that place is joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. May the joy of Christ be yours this Christmas. Amen.