To mark the third week of Advent, we light the pink candle (or a third purple candle). The candle of joy is also called the Shepherd Candle. I thought we might begin this entry with the lyrics to the classic Christmas carol written by Isaac Watts in 1719 (music by George Frederick Handel). Pardon my emphasis on some significant words.

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Advent-GettyImages-175498896-58348db93df78c6f6a2b1140
Advent candles. Lifeway.com

In our world of shortcuts and “new” gospels, there is something about the Advent season that draws us into observing traditions… without complaint. The third week is about recalling to mind our God’s promises of joy amidst the clarion calls to do what makes us happy. 

Joy. Joy is deeper than happiness. They are mutually exclusive. They are not the same. 

When we think of God’s why….US, to give HIM GLORY… there is a joy. We are the reason God came to earth, to redeem us from wicked paths and restore us back to Him. Joy is part of the salvation message. Joy is part of the Gospel — the part where Jesus raises from the dead! 

We need joy. Lighting the pink candle reminds us that there is hope in the Advent of Jesus. We can hope in His appearing, in His coming to us. There is something beautifully personal about knowing the God we worship and cannot see reduced Himself to be housed in a body. This body we reverence in an ordinance of the church was named Jesus, and this Jesus was born like we were born but with a different purpose. Jesus came to 

  • seek us out and save us
  • find us in our lost-ness
  • destroy the works of the devil
  • remove the partition between us and God
  • save us from sin

My prayer for us this week is that the true Christmas story pushes us through sensory experience into spiritual awareness. Jesus is real. Jesus is God. Jesus is born again in Advent, and we expect Him. We hope for Him. We look for Him because in being born — in just showing up — Jesus makes all the difference. 

Merry Christmas, Beloved! Let’s be joyful. 

References: Lifeway Article, Lyrics, Celebrating Holidays

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