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Written and shared in our Sunday service by Krista Pauls

Last Sunday the second candle of advent was lit – the candle of peace.

Today, we will light the third candle of advent – the candle of joy.

When we were asked to share about joy, of course our kids came to mind.  They are a joy to us, and their joy during this Christmas season truly multiplies our joy.

But let’s be real, too.  Any parent can relate to this, that these little “joys” can also be some of your major sources of exhaustion, frustration, heartache, tears, fears, you name it.  There are times when I’ve stood at the top of my stairs, with both kids crying below, and I’ve thought, “I don’t want to go down there.  Is there a window I could sneak out of?”

How can these difficult feelings be so intermingled with some of our deepest joys?

I think that joy can miraculously coexist with all these challenging emotions and hard work.  In fact, I think it goes beyond coexistence – that joys are much deeper when they come out of hard work, sacrifice, and even pain.  If you’ve been sick, how much more do you take joy in simple health?  We were overseas for a couple Christmases, and now we treasure being with family during the holidays.  We take joy in our kids because we’ve poured so much of ourselves into them.  And I’m realizing that this pouring out is not just a toddler thing, but I see parents of all ages still pouring out for their kids.

One of the deepest moments of joy for a mom is holding your new baby.  You’ve endured such physical hardship, and that part is done.  There is a sense of relief at the heart of joy; there is a sense of hope and inner peace in true joy.

Hebrews 12:2 says that we are to fix our eyes on Jesus, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, and who is now seated with God.  What was Jesus’ joy, that made the cross worthwhile?  It was the restored relationship between God and people - you and me.  We are God’s children, and He will always count you as being worth the sacrifice.  Our deep, deep joy at Christmastime can truly be one of redemption, inner peace, and hope.


Krista is a mother of two young children, and has worked as a high school teacher.