Day Five: Unshakable, Privileged Joy

But God raised him from the dead,  freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him:

“ ‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope…’ ”
(Acts 2.24-26)

“God was saying to me that as I trust Him and seek to live in Him and for Him, then I can assuredly know that nothing will be allowed to touch my life by accident or coincidence. God is in control, and in fulfilment of His will—on a larger canvas than I can see—everything big or little that comes into my life is part of His purpose. That is utterly amazing! He offers me the privilege of being part of His purpose, part of His plan, moment by moment. So I can think of everything that comes as a privilege! …[W]hether I think I can see a point in it or not, ALL is privilege

I now look back over my seventy years of loving and serving the Lord Jesus. It is often so much easier to see in hindsight how each circumstance worked itself out to be a privileged joy. Yet I am sure, as we all grow in grace, we will come to accept and understand this tremendous truth day by day without having to resort to, or wait for, hindsight!” (H. Roseveare, Count it All Joy)

Let’s pray: Lord, may we live this day with the unshakable joy that comes from remaining in you and walking with your Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s sing: “Joy to the World/Joy of the Lord” (Maverick City/TRIBL). Click here.



Day Four: Joy in the Time Being

“Jesus came into the world at the first Advent, and every Advent since is a reminder of his continual advent into more and more lives. And that advent is, in fact, our advent—our coming, our moving into the lives of those around us and into the peoples of the world.” (J. Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy)

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19.8-10)

The church’s life in Advent is hidden with Christ until he comes again… As many theologians have pointed out, the church lives in Advent, the Time Between, The Time Being, as Auden calls it… To each and all on this first Sunday of Advent, we bring this announcement: God will come, and his justice will prevail, and he will destroy evil and pain in all its forms, once and forever. To be a Christian is to live every day of our lives in solidarity with those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, but to live in the unshakable hope of those who expect the dawn. (F. Rutledge, Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ, p. 254)

Let’s pray: Lord, we rejoice that we can announce your good news to the world. God will come, your justice will prevail. Shine your light and scatter the darkness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s sing: “Wellspring” (Leeland). Click here.



Day Three: Welcome Him Gladly!

           Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

          When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. (Luke 19.1-6)

“In the story, Jesus completely takes the initiative and calls Zacchaeus to salvation… So he welcomes Jesus into his home and into his life with great joy… [T]his would have been especially joyous because as a tax collector Zacchaeus would have been vilified by all around, so Jesus may have been the first Jewish leader ever to set foot in that home. His acceptance and love for Zacchaeus and his family must have astounded them.” (G. Osborne, Luke Verse-By-Verse, pp. 429-432)

Let’s pray: Lord, we welcome you with great joy! We’re astounded that you know us and love us. We gladly accept your invitation to follow after you as your disciples. May we become more and more like you, living lives of love, sacrificial giving and abundant joy. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s sing: “Fullness” (Elevation). Click here.



Day Two: Joy the World Cannot Give and Cannot Take Away

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2.10-11)

“The birth of Christ was the glorious Advent of the Savior, Messiah and Lord. This first Advent is the cause of supreme joy because the birth of Christ was the incarnation of God. It was God taking upon himself to be fully human (the Word became flesh) and this is cause for great joy because in his coming, we are not abandoned to death nor given up as hopeless and objects of God’s wrath. No longer will there be a great gulf between the Creator and the created. Jesus is Savior – for this purpose he was born to seek and save that which was lost. He is Christ the Lord; the anointed One. The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord rests on him without measure and He is Messiah, the Sent One from God to fully accomplish the work of salvation. Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad since God has so fully, so truly, come down to man!” (Paraphrased excerpts from Good Tidings of Great Joy, Charles Spurgeon, pp. 17-23)

Let’s pray: Lord, our joy comes from you, the One who came from heaven into this world to save us. Today, may we walk with you. Let us know your thoughts, your heart, your desire, your plans. We rejoice in you! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s sing: “You Never Fail” (Hillsong). Click here.



Day One: Good News That Causes Great Joy

Let’s read aloud together the following passage, confession and prayer:

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”  (Luke 2.8-10 NIV)

I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father in eternity, and also a true human being, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned human being.

He has purchased and freed me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver but with his holy, precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death.

He has done all this in order that I may belong to him, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in eternal righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as he is risen from the dead and lives and rules eternally. This is most certainly true.  (M. Luther, Small Catechism)

Heavenly Father, thank you for the good news that causes great joy for all people! We rejoice in our Savior Jesus who has freed us from the bondage to sin. Fill us with the joy of salvation through the power of your Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s sing: “His Name Shall Be” (M. Redman). Click here.