In this third week of Advent, we light the pink candle that represents JOY.
This week’s advent candle may be the most difficult of all. A friend lost her husband suddenly last week. Another is grieving over the loss of a marriage. For some, this is the first holiday without a loved one. Family members are estranged, lives are messy, relationships are broken. Joy is a distant memory.
There was a time in my life where my grief and sadness had somehow buried what little joy I had. I wondered if I would laugh again. If my smile would ever be genuine or continue to be a façade so others wouldn’t think anything different or ask too many questions. One day, out of nowhere, while watching my children running, laughing, and playing in the backyard, I laughed until I cried. Out of my deepest sadness, joy erupted over the simple sight of my children.
The people of Israel, had turned away from God. Prophets warned them warned them that if they didn’t repent, they would be scattered and sent into exile. God promised one day He would bring them back into a relationship with Him. Their joy turned to mourning, but in their deepest grief came the promise of great joy in the form of an infant.
After Jesus had spent three years with the disciples, he was preparing them for the unexpected pain and sadness they were about the experience. He would soon be crucified and leave them. They had to walk through the darkness before the light of joy would become complete in them. Jesus shared with them that they needed to remain in close relationship with God and continue to love one another. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
The joy within you that may seen buried is still there. Continue to walk through your grief and pain, but don’t do it alone. Stay close to God so that His joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. While the pain seems like it could bury you alive, joy is there just waiting to erupt when you least expect it.