Advent Reflections: Joy

"Sing to the LORD a new song,
     for He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and His holy arm
     have worked salvation for Him.
The LORD has made His salvation known
     and revealed His righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered His love 
     and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
     the salvation of our God."
                                                 - Psalm 98:1-3

Halfway there!  Today is the 3rd Sunday of Advent, and this week is all about Joy.

We have a LOT to celebrate in this season, friends:

"Praise the LORD, O my soul, 
     and forget not all His benefits - 
     who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
     who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
     who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
..... He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities ....."
                                                                                                     - Psalm 103: 2-5, 10

I love the picture painted in Amos 9:11-15.  After chapters of just judgment, here comes the promise: "'I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,'" says the LORD your God." (Amos 9:15)

Our God, who never changes and whose love is unfailing, is more than able to do exactly the same thing for you.  "...God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.  He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Thessalonians 2:13b-14)  He wants to take you out of the barren and exiled places of your life and plant you in new places within His kingdom - places you will find abundant life, and just the right environment for things like hope and peace and joy to grow.

So what will you do, during this Advent week of waiting with joy, to celebrate the coming of the King (who came and is here and will come again) - and to remember that you have much to celebrate?

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