Advent Devotional: Sunday, December 11

Linda Kurtz

Third Week of Advent:  Joy
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Light the Candle of  Joy

Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  Psalm 100:21
Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of His works with songs of joy.  Psalm 107:22

Many years ago, a popular singer wrote a song that referred repeatedly to the “elusive butterfly of love”.  In much the same way, the beautiful  emotion of joy can elude us as we go about our daily lives. Yet sometimes, when we least expect it, a feeling of joy can overwhelm us and fill us with a positive and renewed sensitivity to our world and the people around us.

Many things can activate this elusive joy – the clear sweet song of a bird, a heartfelt “I love you” from a child, an unexpected compliment from a friend.  But perhaps one of the most effective ways to experience the “elusive butterfly of joy” is through the medium of music.

Music has a power that is almost mystical.  It can energize or soothe, activate good memories or bad, fill us with a sense of peace or agitation, enable us to feel joy or despair.

Throughout the ages, sacred music has enhanced the moving of God’s spirit within His people.  As an integral part of the worship experience, music can convey God’s joy in a mighty way.  The familiar chords of a beloved hymn, the voices of a choir blending together in perfect harmony, the rich tones of a talented soloist all have the potential to transport us into realms of pure and sacred joy.

Can anyone listen to the thrilling chords of the “Hallelujah Chorus” without experiencing a multitude of joyful emotions?  When the song reaches its highest point and the choir repeats the “Hallelujah” until the final note, we are swept away on a tide of pure joy.  We may shiver with delight, shed some tears, or just be content to let the beautiful chords flow over us, but, without a doubt, we have been drawn closer to God, and as we leave the sanctuary, we feel a renewal of that love and spirit that makes us truly “one in the bond of love”.  We are reconnected to our true purpose as Christians, and our joy is complete.

As you worship throughout this sacred season, remember to open yourself up to God’s joy.  Joy can be found in many ways, but pay special attention to the joyful message conveyed in the hymns we sing, the anthems we hear, and the lovely chords that draw us closer to Him as we experience and embrace His joy.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, may our joy be complete this Christmas season.  Enable us to let go of all our daily cares and anxieties, and help us to experience the joyful power of your wonderful love and peace.  Amen