Third Sunday of Advent: The Candle of Joy

Hello Friends,

CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST HERE!!! Just look at the calendar! There is just a little over a week to go until Christmas. Do you have all of your Christmas shopping done? Have you found ways to put yourself on the nice list? I hope so, because the big day is almost here! You can feel the joy in the air! People are excited! The stores are filled with busy shoppers! Schools are bursting at the seams with parties and concerts and performances! And my living room is filled with boxes to wrap! The season is certainly busy, but it is also very joyful!

This week we reflect on the Third Advent Candle: Joy, the pink colored candle. But first, let me remind you of what we talked about last week. Last week we talked about the Second Candle of Advent–Peace–and how we need peace when we are afraid. We are all afraid of something. But, did you know that even people who followed Jesus were afraid? Why should they be afraid if they have Jesus walking with them? When Jesus told His disciples that He was going to return to His Father, they were afraid. What would happen to them? Would the enemies recognize them as His followers and try to harm them? Jesus knew that His disciples were afraid and He offered these words to comfort them. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. Don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I have told you: ‘I am going away, but I will come back to you again. I will come and get you, so that you will always be with Me’” (John 14:23-29).

These words were a great comfort to His disciples and they are a great comfort to us today. When Jesus returned to His Father in heaven, He asked God to send the Holy Spirit to comfort His disciples until the day when He returned. That includes you and me! What a wonderful gift Jesus has given us: peace of mind and heart. We no longer have anything to fear. Whenever we find ourselves in the dark or in the storms of life, Jesus is with us. Jesus is our teddy bear, our pillow, and our favorite blanket. Jesus is the peace that brings us comfort every day. “Peace on earth and goodwill toward men,” is how an old Christmas carol sings.

On the Second Sunday of Advent, we lit the candle of peace as a reminder that we must not be afraid: that Jesus will come to help us see in the light. When life gets busy and sometimes scary, remember the peace that Jesus gave his disciples because it is the same peace that he gives you. May the peace of Jesus comfort you today and every day.

It’s important to have peace in our life. When we allow the peace of Jesus to be in our life, we smile and feel joyful and happy. Sometimes, though, joy is tough to find. Today, we reflect on the Third Candle of Advent: Joy, the pink candle. Let me share with you a quick story. A few days ago, I had a few last-minute things that I needed to buy to finish up my Christmas shopping, so I got in my car and headed for Walmart. That was a big mistake! The parking lot was packed and I drove around for what seemed like an hour looking for a place to park. I was beginning to get a little bit steamed when I finally found a place to park: I wasn’t happy; I wasn’t joyful. I went inside and the people were elbow to elbow. “Why did I ever decide to come here so near to Christmas,” I asked myself.

After pushing and shoving my way through the crowd, I finally found the items I needed and headed to the checkout line. You guessed it! The checkout line was a mile long! I thought about leaving, but I really needed these items, so I stood there in line–fussing and fuming and griping about how slowly the line was moving and thinking about all the things I still needed to get done before Sunday. I thought to myself, “Can’t these people see that I am in a hurry.” I was probably beginning to look like the Red Character from the movie Inside Out who gets really red when he gets angry with fire come out of his head. I had no joy while I stood in that line. Have you ever been angry before? Have you ever been unhappy?

As I stood there in line, I began to think, “What could I do while I am waiting besides standing here in a bad mood?” I thought, “Well I could visit with the people around me. Maybe we could share our plans for the holidays. That would take my mind off of having to wait. And you know, those kids up there in front of me are actually kind of cute. They are just having fun while they wait. I could enjoy watching them play and listening to the sound of their laughter.” There was joy all around me, but no joy inside.

Suddenly, I heard a sound that I had not even noticed a few minutes earlier. I heard the sound of music coming over the store’s speaker system. “Joy to the World, the Lord is come. Let earth receive her King!” Suddenly, I felt ashamed of the way I had been acting. This is the Christmas season. This is when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Jesus came to earth so that we might have a life filled with joy–and here I was acting like an old Scrooge.

Sometimes I will hear someone say, “I can’t wait until Christmas!” Well, the truth is, we can wait. In fact, we must wait. The question is, how will we wait? Will we wait in grumpy silence, or will we decide to experience all the joy of the season in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus–the source of all true joy?

God through Jesus Christ, has given us joy that trumps all our frustrations, stresses, worries, and anger. This joy is down in our heart, down in our heart to stay; and our heart is the very place where Jesus stays. However, sometimes we forget about the joy of Jesus. We forget to sing “Joy to the World, the Lord is come.” We forget about the words of the Prophet Isaiah who shared with the people, “And the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away” (Isaiah 35:10,NIV). We forget about the words of King Solomon who wrote, “A cheerful (or joyful) heart is good medicine…” (Proverbs 17:22). We forget that “joy comes in the morning,” that every morning God gives us a new sunrise. Jesus is our joy; and our joy comes from Jesus.

Today we light the Third Candle on the Advent Wreath. The candle of Joy: the pink candle which symbolizes brightness and newness. Jesus came to bring us joy. He will come again to take us to a place of everlasting joy. How will you experience joy during these last few days of the Christmas season? If I can find joy while standing in a long line at Walmart, then certainly you can find joy somewhere in your life.

O Lord, fill us with your joy. Remove our anger, and grant us joy. Help us to have a joyful heart today and every day. Amen.

Your Friend, Holy Spirit!

Lesson Idea borrowed from


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *