18th Day of Advent: Joy – A Reflection on Philippians 4:4-7

Farewell, Greetings, Rejoice, Be Glad, Delight! One Greek word so many meanings, yet they are all connected–especially on this Advent journey we’re taking.

So often we take the idea of rejoicing as a happy term. Yet it has a salutation or a valediction that brings with it more depth–the depth of distance. Joy is not just a momentary emotion, but one built around a journey and a larger, longer connection between the parties involved. We are not called to simply celebrate God being God, but to remember the journeys we have been on and the life we share with God.

That greeting–that connection of joy–is not because we’re promised all we could ever desire or because God makes us happy and gives us reason to celebrate, but because of all the emotions we’ve experienced in our past in our relationship with God. It is that depth of emotion that causes us to say so many of those terms mentioned at the start of this reflection.

We express meaningful greetings and farewells with those who know us deeply and who we know deeply. We ask those closest to us to help us when we’re in need and worried. It is with this same sense of deep, longing joy that we speak to God.

It’s like a letter full of jokes, stories, and memories sent with a deep-seated need to tell someone about what is most important to you at this very moment. This is prayer, and it is the joy of our relationship with God. We don’t just ask, but we share. And the response is not a check in the mail or having everything fixed as we would like it. Like those letters sent to the ones who know us best and care for us most, what is most important is the peace that we receive.

The peace of closeness and connection, the peace of knowing that we are known fully and cared for beyond anything we can understand. And at the end of the day, that is Joy.

A reflection by Adj Williams.

Adj Williams

Adj is the Director of Educational Ministries at Harbor View Presbyterian Church. Adj tweets at @keepsetting and blogs at http://keepsetting.blogspot.com

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