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Finding Faith: Look for the joy in Christ's birth

"My Advent prayer for you is that ... you find joy no matter what your circumstances are. ... Advent is a season of light, and I pray that you see Jesus’ light in all that life has to offer you!"

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The Advent candles in place at Trinity Lutheran Church in Jamestown, N.D., with one purple candle for each week of Advent, and the white candle in the center to announce the birth of Jesus on Christmas.
John M. Steiner / Forum News Service
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We now celebrate the third Sunday in Advent, often symbolized with the lighting of a pink candle instead of a purple one in the Advent wreath. Pink because that is the liturgical color for joy; pink to remind us of the joy the world experienced because of Jesus’ birth.

After all, Advent isn’t only about the heaviness of the preparation of our savior’s coming. It’s also about the sheer joy at the thought of the beautiful Christ child entering this broken world, so far from home and in the most unorthodox of birthplaces. A stable of all places!

Matters of faith can be so serious so much of the time, but this Sunday, also known as “Rejoice Sunday,” is a reminder there is reason to throw our hands heavenward and join the chorus of angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth!”

There is joy all around us! … Joy in the peace the Christ child brings with him to earth. Joy in the miracle of childbirth. Joy in the miracle of motherhood. Joy in a divine king born in a lowly manger. Joy in a king of peace who will conquer death with nary a violent act. Joy in everyday things such as having a place — any place! — to lay your head, swaddling clothes and a sleeping newborn.

Amid all the heaviness of life in the past few years, Rejoice Sunday gives us permission to celebrate life itself. After all, the entire point of being faithful isn’t only to wind up in heaven. God indeed wants us to experience joy right here on earth as well. Why else would he have shared his son with us?

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My Advent prayer for you is that, in this season of light, you find joy no matter what your circumstances are. I pray that you can see joy in your neighbors, in the loved ones whom you surround yourself with, in the food on your table, and the warm blankets you cover yourself with at night. Advent is a season of light, and I pray that you see Jesus’ light in all that life has to offer you!

And if you are finding it difficult to feel and experience the light of the birth of Jesus by yourself, then I encourage you to reach out to others who are willing to help you seek out the hope that Christ’s birth offers. We aren’t meant to journey through this dark world by ourselves. We are meant to live in community, one people, all God’s people.

On this Rejoice Sunday, I pray for nothing less than a season of joy for each and every one of you. Amen.

MORE FAITH NEWS:
"Church worship now competes with everything from professional sports to kids activities to household chores. ... we can either have a frank conversation about what church can be, or we can continue to watch the pews empty in cherished houses of worship across the country."

Related Topics: FAITH
Opinion by Devlyn Brooks
Devlyn Brooks is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and serves Faith Lutheran Church in Wolverton, Minn. He also works for Forum Communications Co. He can be reached at devlyn.brooks@forumcomm.com for comments and story ideas.
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