But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.’  (Luke 2:10-11)





On this third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday, our hearts and minds turn to a theme that is central not only to this season but to our faith as a whole – Joy. The Latin term ‘Gaudete’ means ‘rejoice,’ and it serves as a fitting reminder of the profound joy that characterizes this time of the year. We are called to rejoice in the fulfillment of God’s promises, in the birth of Christ, and in the salvation that He brings.


Joy, in the context of Advent, is more than a fleeting emotion or a temporary state of happiness. It is a deep-seated sense of gladness that springs from the realization of God’s active presence in our lives. It is rooted in the knowledge that God has come to us in Jesus Christ and will come again. This joy transcends our circumstances, it is unshakeable and eternal.


As we explore the theme of joy, we will delve into three aspects: the joy of Christ’s birth and its significance, the joy of salvation that Jesus offers, and the joy in anticipation of His second coming. Each of these facets contributes to our understanding and experience of true Christian joy.


Let us open our hearts to this message of joy, allowing it to permeate our being and to overflow into our lives. As we do so, we embrace the essence of Advent and the very heart of our faith – the joyous reality of God with us.




The Joy of Christ’s Birth


The season of Advent is a time of deep reflection and celebration, centered on the joy that comes from the birth of Jesus Christ. This joy, as recounted in the Gospels, is rooted in a miraculous event that marked the fulfillment of prophecies laid down centuries before. The angel’s announcement to the shepherds in Luke 2:10-11 is a profound declaration: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” This message encapsulates the essence of Advent’s joy – it’s a joy that is universal, encompassing all humanity in the good news of Christ’s birth.


The birth of Jesus stands as a pivotal moment in history, signaling God’s profound intervention in the human story. His willingness to be born as a baby in a manger, to live among us, is an act of divine humility and love. This event is not just a historical occurrence but a living reality that continues to bring joy to the world. Isaiah 9:6 foretold this event, proclaiming, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” This prophecy highlights the magnitude and the multifaceted nature of Christ’s birth.


The joy surrounding Christ’s birth is vividly reflected in the reactions of those who first heard the news. The shepherds, upon receiving the angel’s message, hurried to Bethlehem and found Mary, Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger (Luke 2:16). Their response, as described in Luke 2:20, was one of glorification and praise to God, reflecting the deep joy they experienced upon witnessing this miracle. Similarly, the wise men from the east, guided by a star, embarked on a long journey to worship the child, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:10-11). Their journey and the gifts they presented are testaments to the joy and reverence inspired by Jesus’ birth.


This joy of Christ’s birth is a continuous reality, permeating the very fabric of our existence. The incarnation – God taking on human flesh – has profound implications for humanity. It represents God’s closeness, His intimate involvement in our lives, and His deep empathy for the human condition. John 1:14 articulates this beautifully: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” This verse encapsulates the joy of the incarnation, highlighting the tangible presence of God’s grace and truth in our midst.


Moreover, the joy of Christ’s birth extends beyond a mere emotional response; it’s a source of strength and hope. Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” This joy is not contingent upon our circumstances; it is a steadfast anchor, providing strength and resilience in the face of life’s challenges.


In conclusion, the joy of Christ’s birth is a multidimensional experience, encompassing historical fulfillment, personal transformation, and an ongoing, dynamic relationship with God. As we celebrate Advent, let us embrace this joy wholeheartedly, allowing it to infuse our lives with hope, strength, and a deeper connection to the divine. Let the reality of God with us, Emmanuel, fill our hearts with an unending joy that transcends time and circumstances.






The Joy of Salvation


The joy of Advent, while deeply rooted in the historical birth of Jesus Christ, transcends this singular event to encompass the broader and profound reality of salvation. This joy is vividly encapsulated in John 3:16-17: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” These verses reveal the depth of God’s love and the magnanimous gift of salvation offered through Christ.


The incarnation of Jesus was the dawn of a redemptive process that provides salvation to all who believe. This salvation is an all-encompassing restoration – a mending of the fractured relationship between humanity and God. It opens the door to eternal life, inviting us into a life of fellowship and communion with the Divine. This gift of salvation, freely offered to us, is a wellspring of joy, a joy that is both profound and enduring.


The joy of salvation is closely intertwined with the transformation experienced by those who accept Jesus as their Savior. As Apostle Paul states in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” This transformation is radical and complete – a turning away from an old way of life and the embrace of a new life in Christ. This change brings with it a renewed sense of freedom, purpose, and fulfillment. These are not fleeting emotions but lasting attributes of the joy found in Christ.


Moreover, this joy is not conditional upon our external circumstances. It remains steadfast even amidst life’s most challenging trials and hardships. James 1:2-3 exhorts believers to “consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” This perspective is indeed counterintuitive; it reframes our understanding of joy, presenting it not as a byproduct of serene conditions but as a deep-rooted, unwavering assurance that prevails even in adversity.


The joy of salvation is also seen in the freedom it brings from the bondage of sin. In Romans 6:22-23, we find, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This freedom is a significant reason for joy, as it liberates us from the ultimate consequence of sin and grants us the promise of eternal life with God.


Additionally, the joy of salvation is a unifying force within the Christian community. It creates a bond among believers, transcending cultural, ethnic, and social barriers. As expressed in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” In Christ, we find a common joy that unites us in our diversity, a joy that celebrates our shared salvation and hope.


In conclusion, the joy of Advent, rooted in the birth of Christ, finds its fullest expression in the joy of salvation. This joy, offered to all through Christ, brings transformation, freedom, and an enduring hope that transcends our circumstances. As we journey through this Advent season, let us embrace and celebrate the joy of our salvation, sharing this joy with others and allowing it to shape our lives and our communities.






Joy in Anticipation of Christ’s Second Coming


The joy of Advent encompasses not only the remembrance of past events, such as Christ’s miraculous birth, but also a forward-looking, vibrant anticipation of His second coming. This facet of Advent joy is deeply embedded in the Christian faith, as Apostle Paul describes in Titus 2:13, “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” This anticipation encapsulates a dynamic and active waiting, characterized by hope and expectation for the ultimate fulfillment of God’s plan for humanity.


This forward-looking joy is not about passive waiting; it is an active, engaging, and vibrant state of being. It involves preparing ourselves, our communities, and our world for the return of Christ. Living in anticipation of Christ’s return means embodying the values and teachings of Jesus in our daily lives. It’s about being beacons of light in a world often shrouded in darkness and acting as agents of God’s kingdom on earth. In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus tells us, “You are the light of the world… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” This verse calls us to live out our faith visibly and actively, serving as a testament to the transformative power of God’s love.


The anticipation of Christ’s second coming instills a joy that is both hopeful and contagious. It propels us to actively engage in our faith, to share the love of God with others, and to contribute towards the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. As stated in the Lord’s Prayer, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10), this anticipation drives us to seek the manifestation of God’s kingdom in our present world.


Moreover, this anticipatory joy offers a unique perspective on our current struggles and challenges. It serves as a reminder that our present difficulties are temporary and pale in comparison to the glory that awaits us. In Romans 8:18, Paul articulates this perspective: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” This future-focused joy provides strength and hope in our daily lives, encouraging us to persevere through trials with the knowledge of the greater glory that is to come.


In addition to providing hope, this anticipation motivates us to live in a manner that is worthy of the calling we have received. In 2 Peter 3:11-12, Peter urges us, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” This passage emphasizes the importance of leading lives that reflect holiness and godliness as we await Christ’s return.


The joy of anticipating Christ’s second coming also fosters a sense of unity and purpose among believers. It reminds us that we are part of a larger story, a grand narrative that God is unfolding. In Hebrews 10:24-25, we are encouraged to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” This verse highlights the importance of community and mutual encouragement as we look forward to Christ’s return.


In conclusion, the joy of Advent, characterized by anticipation of Christ’s second coming, is a powerful and transformative aspect of our faith. It calls us to live with hope, to engage actively in our faith journey, and to view our present circumstances through the lens of the glorious future promised to us. As we journey through this Advent season, let us embrace this anticipatory joy, allowing it to guide us in our daily lives and to unite us in our shared hope of Christ’s return.





Summary and Life Application


As we reflect on the joy of Advent, let us embrace the fullness of this joy – the joy of Christ’s birth, the joy of salvation, and the joy of anticipating His return. This Advent season, let us allow this joy to fill our hearts, to shape our interactions with others, and to guide our actions.


In the coming week, let us find practical ways to express and share this joy. Let us reach out to others with kindness and love, sharing the good news of Jesus with those who do not yet know Him. Let us also find moments of personal reflection, where we can connect with the source of our joy, Jesus Christ.


As we light the third candle of Advent, the candle of Joy, let it be a reminder of the great joy that Christ brings into our lives. May this candle symbolize the joy that we carry in our hearts, a joy that we are called to share with the world.


May our celebration of Christ’s birth and our anticipation of His return be filled with true joy. And as we journey through this season, may our lives reflect the joyous reality of God with us. Amen.




Even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (Peter 1:8b-9)

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