We’re onto the third week of Advent, and we again invite you to join us as we reflect on Christ’s first and second comings. So far we’ve looked at several stories that spoke about how Christ is the fulfillment of our hopes, as well as how God prepared his people for the coming Messiah, and still prepares us to be a part of His plan. This week’s theme is Joy, so we’ll look at stories of how people rejoiced in God’s plan and his promises (especially those fulfilled in Jesus), and how God actually rejoices over us.
Ready to join us? You can see the first week of reflections here and the second week of reflections here. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to get a daily reminder. We look forward to reflecting with you!
Day 15: The Messiah Will Restore Us
Read Isaiah 61:1-3
One of the major themes of the Old Testament, and major prophecies about the Messiah, is the restoration of hurting people—healing the sick, rescuing the captives, etc.
How have you seen God’s restoration at work in your own life?
Day 16: Sarah Has a Son
Read Genesis 21:5-7
Sarah had waited so long for a son that, when the Angel of the Lord told her it was finally time, she laughed at the absurdity. A year later, her baby son was named Isaac, which means Laughter. God made her an impossible promise, and then fulfilled it, and her derision turned to joy. That baby named Laughter was the start of God fufilling his promise to Abraham to be the father of nations… and eventually, to provide us with a Messiah.
What impossibilities are you facing? What promises do you need to hear?
Day 17: The Groom Delights in His Bride
The bride in Song of Solomon feels unlovely; she’s sunburnt, and her hands are likely calloused from hard labor. But the groom sees her as beautiful and takes delight in her. Similarly, we see our own sins and ugliness, but God looks on us with love. The Church is Christ’s bride, and the baby we’re celebrating this season came into the world to redeem us as his beloved, no matter how tainted by sin we are.
Knowing that God delights in us despite our sin, how does that change your relationship with God?
Day 18: Mary Sings
Read Luke 1:50-55
When Mary and Elizabeth meet, Elizabeth’s baby leaps in the womb and Mary bursts into song, realizing that the baby she’s carrying is the same God who has flipped the entire order of things, toppling kingdoms to raise up the poor.
How has God turned your life upside down? What joy has it brought?
Day 19: The Wise Men Worship Jesus
Read Matthew 2:9-11
Even after the Wise Men learned that the Messiah they were seeking was not at the palace (the obvious place for a prophesied king), they didn’t give up. Instead, they returned to the sign God had given them and rejoiced when it led them to Jesus.
Has God led you someplace you didn’t expect? Do you rejoice in his leading?
Day 20: Jesus Suffered for the Sake of Joy
Read Hebrews 12:1-2
The cross is the entire point of advent. Jesus set aside his Heavenly rights so that he could be born a human baby who would grow up and take his Father’s wrath on himself. His birth, life, and death was for the sake of our reconciliation and our joy.
How does your own suffering, especially in your fight against sin, reflect Jesus’ joy in suffering?
Day 21: Jesus Will Come Again
Read Revelation 21:3-4
The first Advent happened over 2000 years ago. But there’s another advent coming, when Jesus will come back to be with us forever. Pain and suffering will no longer exist, and Jesus will make all things new.
How can you find joy right now knowing that Jesus will one day wipe away your tears?