Fourth Week of Advent 2016: Joy

Joy to the World the Lord has come! And what a wonderful world it is, even with everything going on in it. It's still beautiful, and there can be peace found on it. It's something to be proud of this time of year.

Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Lots of events in life make us happy: births, graduations, weddings, achieving something we worked hard for. But there are other circumstances- things like sickness, money problems, trouble with our relationships or the death of someone we love-that bring deep sadness and fear. If bad things are happening around us, how can we be joyful always?

The joy deep within our hearts doesn't always show up as laughter and happiness. The joy that comes from what Christ has done for us constantly fills our hearts; it doesn't depend on the circumstances of our lives. It's a choice to be joyful. Like the choice to love those are seemingly unlovable; by an act of our will. How do we do this? We do this by focusing on Christ instead of the situation that's going on in our life. And that's not as easy as I'm making it sound. But it is very possible. The Bible is full of examples of people who found joy in the midst of the worst situations, and if we look around, we'll see other examples all around us.

Praise and worship the Mighty God that gave your gift of Jesus Christ!

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