The third Advent Candle is JOY and the scripture chosen to represent this candle is Philippians 4:4-7. Paul's words in this passage told the Philippians (and ultimately, us) how to have joy. He wrote: "Rejoice in the Lord always." And he evidently thought it was important enough to repeat. I don't know how hard that would have been for the people of Philippi but I know we have trouble with that, don't we? It's very difficult to be joyful always about some things that happen. But. according to Paul. that's the first step to having real, continual joy. Then Paul adds some other characteristics that will enable us to have joy in our lives: gentleness and victory over worry or anxiety. Even if it is difficult, Paul says that in everything, we should ask for God's help by prayer and by giving thanks. And if we can manage that, what will it do for us? We will have joy and as a result of that joy, we will experience the peace of God, a peace so amazing it surpasses all understanding!
Recently I was reading about Advent Candles on an on-line site and saw the following description of "Advent." I decided to include it here.
"During Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for, and need of, forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward, anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was promised by His first coming."
During this Advent season, let's practice being joyful through the means Paul has given us and, hopefully, we will attain that peace he described and we can participate in the anticipation of the return of Christ.
Mary Kay Parrish