There’s nothing like the sight of a little one on Christmas morning. There’s nothing like that look of wonder and excitement, or the sheer volume of their excitement (that makes you really need a second cup of coffee), or that amazement that Santa has come, and all their hard work to make his “Nice” list has paid off. That kind of joy is infectious, isn’t it?
Joy is defined as the emotion brought about by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. At Advent, this last definition is made so clear to us. We look back on the coming of Jesus with joy because of what it meant for our salvation, and we look forward to His return as the thing that will make all things right.
So many times in Scripture, the word “joy” is found in the context of sorrow or trouble because joy is the prize inside that promise. Jesus told us in John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” The Psalmist looks forward to that day in Psalm 30:5 “Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning.”
This morning we can have joy in the promise of what is to come, but we can also have joy in the “now.” The advent of Jesus was an event that heralded great joy, but we are filled with joy now, not because of something temporary like a gift that Santa leaves under the tree, but because of the permanence of Emmanuel, God With Us. “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Deut 31:6) Joy has dawned.