In the pivotal third week of Advent, we pass the halfway point and begin joyfully anticipating the arrival of Christ. We celebrate Christ as the source and foundation of our joy, for we know all good things come from God, just as Christ was born to us through the love and mercy of the Father.
We must remember during this season that joy is in stark contrast to happiness. We may experience a great deal of happiness during this season - giving and receiving gifts, reconnecting with old friends or distant family, listening to our favorite Christmas songs, or partaking in seasonal traditions. But this happiness is not the same as joy. Happiness is a feeling, often fleeting and even fickle.
Joy, on the other hand, is rooted in the hope we have of eternity with God. Joy is anchored in our relationship with Christ. Joy is born and sustained at the foot of the cross. We celebrate joy during Advent for we know that with the birth of Christ ultimately comes the cross, the death, and resurrection of Christ. Only through his sacrifice and welcoming open arms do we experience true, deep-seated joy.
During this season, we wish each other “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy Holidays!” May we also wish one another seasons and lives of joy, for while happiness is fleeting, joy endures through trial and tribulation for it knows its source - Christ - is above all things. May we honor and celebrate the birth of Christ by taking part in his joyful intimacy with the Father and Holy Spirit and live our lives in such divine proximity as well.
In this third week of Advent, joyfully remember the blessings God has provided. Allow his joy to overflow from your heart and to pour out into the lives of those around you. Remember and dwell on the joy of Christ the King, born to us for our salvation.