Read Luke 1:41-44 and light the third candle.

In the final moments of the game your team makes the final—the winning—goal! The crowd goes wild and you are right there with them, live and in person.

 

You stand at the front of the church facing the doors. Your hands begin to sweat, but then she appears. The most beautiful woman you have ever seen. You don’t know how she did it, but she is more beautiful today than you have ever seen her before. And your heart swells awaiting the moment that you have been anticipating for months—your wedding day.

 

You hold a baby in your arms. Not just any baby, but your baby. Perhaps this is your first grandchild. They coo, and they wriggle, and they grin their toothless grin.

 

All of these scenes, to some degree or another elicit within us the same feeling: JOY. Joy, that wellspring of emotion that rushes up and burns in our chests as it bursts through our eyes and often shouts from our lips unhampered—because joy is something to be shared.

 

What is it that makes joy well up so strongly? It is Jesus. When Jesus comes close enough for us to sense, joy begins to build. We want to jump, we want to shout, we want to sing. This is why Christmas is such a time of joy. This is why joy is used to describe the holiday, because we feel it before we know it, and then we want to share it with all who come within shouting distance. Share the Joy of the season that wells up at the sound of a favorite Christmas hymn, story, or thought. As we go through the traditions that have attached themselves to our holiday-making let us revel in the joy that is represented in the presence of the One who comes in the manger.

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