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Third Candle of Advent 2020: Joy

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

Isaiah 55:12

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

One of the things that makes Christmas special for so many is the joy we experience in this season. This joy began when Mary discovered that she was to give birth. Her "Magnificat" is itself a timeless hymn of joy.

It seems that joy and Christmas are inseparable. We feel joyful when we hear only a few notes of Christmas songs, both the secular ones, but especially the carols of Christmas.. We are joyful at holiday homecomings. Our spirits rise when we are surrounded by Christmas lights and decorations. We revel in the family stories of Christmases past.

The traditional Advent readings from the Bible not only exude joy, they implore us to make joy a way of living (Zephaniah 3:14-20; Isaiah 12:1-6; Philippians 4:4-7).:

Let Us Rejoice

Let’s not simply be glad, let us rejoice! Zephaniah

And no simple rejoicing, let us exult!

And no half-way exultation;

Let us discover ecstasy of the soul!

In rejoicing let thoughts become words Isaiah

And words become melodies

And melodies become songs of

Rich harmonies of praise

Let your ecstasy redouble, echo in others Philippians

Let your exaltation sweep out in acts of gentleness

Let your worries dissolve into rejoicing

Let your rejoicing become a way of life

In COVID-time we are missing much of what brings us joy during this season. We are not able to come together, to have parties, to share meals, to go caroling, to be out enjoying the normal events of the season, even to worship together on Christmas eve or to sing Christmas carols during Advent worship without worry or danger..

It is during this time that we realize how difficult it is, sometimes, to love -- to sacrifice for others, to be there for others. It is during time like this that we realize just how essential joy is.



Feel great joy

Elemental, essential.

Not merely the opposite of sadness

Profound, deep happiness

Peace, not the absence of violence, but the presence of well-being

Connection with creation, and thus with the Creator, a shared experience

Our souls thirst for joy like our bodies thirst for water

Without water we cannot live.

Without joy it is too painful to love

(Based on Isaiah 61:1-4; Psalm; 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28)

(“Joy” first appeared in The Write Launch, January 2019)

At times like now we need to seek joy, to support acts of joy, to be joyful in whatever we do. That is the call of Advent, that is the Christmas Spirit!


Be sure to let your family and friends know that the Colchester Area Advent Series will be broadcast every Sunday evening in Advent at 5 pm on LCATV (Cable Channel 15).


Peace be with you, Pastor Russ Candle photo credit: Photo by Victor Grabarcyk

Nativity photo credit: Photo by Russell E. Willis Poems by Russell E. Willis

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