3rd Sunday Advent Year B
Isa.61:1-2,10-11; 1Thess.5:16-24; Jn.1:6-8,19-28
The Native Americans talk about the Great White Spirit in all things. The tribal people are also noted for their receptivity to the life-force around them. Even traditional island Japanese harmonise their lives to the rhythms of nature. The scriptures introduce us to “that something which excites all things”. Isaiah talked about it as
- The something within the earth: that made things fresh, things grow and seeds to spring up
- The something within the nations: that made integrity and praise rise up like incense
- The something within us: that was seen in Jesus and in Isaiah; an anointing that brought the good news to the poor, bound up the broken, freed the captives and the prisoners.
They called it JOY, the joy in the Lord, an experience of the Spirit that pointed to the Light who is yet to come and was a testimony to the God of the Promise and His faithfulness. It stirred the hearts of people to hope, to wait expectantly.
Are we a reflection of that anointing? Are we a witness of joy in the world? Are we joy-filled bearers of the Good News? Do we cause an excitement around us? The following are indicators of a “suppressed spirit-life” or “joyless Christians”:
- Impoverished lives: unfulfilled desires, personally vulnerable, inability to save and heal others, incapacity to manage own lives and love
- Brokenness: suffering with, repressing or ignoring the brokenness in one’s life, one’s loves and labour.
- Blindness: blind to the graces, the bounty of life, the gift of each breath and movement of the heart, and the inability see personal wounds and gifts
- Captives: self-imposed prison of closedowns, of shutdowns and lockdowns, see only closed doors and roads, see no way out of failures and betrayals, fears that paralyse, and attachments that freeze us.
This “joyless existence” or the lack of the “joy of the Lord” reflects the church in many places. In the church, they appear as sin, poverty, brokenness, captive to idols, ambitions and obsessions. The society’s nationalistic agendas, life-threatening traditions and vested interest in economic and political decisions are creating joyless nations.
Is there a way to regain the “Lost Joy”? Paul said that there is a way. He provided a solution.
- Never suppress the Spirit of God, the Spirit of prophecies and the Spirit of goodness
- Be happy. It is a decision, not a feeling. This is found in constant prayer and thanksgiving.
A pastor once said, “Jesus first, Others next and Yourself last.”
This is the Spirit of JOY. Joy-filled Christians radiate God, bring forth the living and hope-giving word and touch lives to face times. May the Spirit of Joy stir us into a star of hope.
“The World Awaits A Star. A Star of Hope.’’