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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

Christianity is Joy

Sunday, December 17, 2023

by Fr. David M. Knight

View readings for 3rd Sunday of Advent:

Lectionary no. 8 (Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11; 1Thessalonians 5:16-24; John1:6-8, 19-28)

I rejoice heartily in the LORD. In my God is the joy of my soul; for he has clothed me with the robe of salvation. Isaiah 61:10

Since childhood, I have loved the Salve Regina (“Hail Holy Queen”). Except for the words, “mourning and weeping in this valley of tears,” which seem a little one-sided. And the Bible backs me up: in the New Revised Standard Version, “rejoice” appears 143 times vs. 43 for “mourn.”

Christianity is joy. After love, joy is the second “fruit of the Holy Spirit,” meaning that if we are living a Christian life, joy should be a proof of it.

But joy is compatible with pain. Joy is not just a feeling; it is a deep happiness, based on what we know. Jesus on the cross had joy, because he knew he was saving the world. But he did not feel it.

Our joy comes from knowing the mystery of our relationship with the Three Persons of God. God is our Father. The Son lives in our bodies. The Holy Spirit infuses us with “love, joy, peace, patient endurance, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22).

Christianity lifts us up from the level of “religion”—doctrines laws and practices—into the mystery of relationship (through interaction) with Father, Son and Spirit. That is joy.

Ultimately, it is the only joy we can unconditionally count on.

DAILY PRACTICE: Whenever you feel sad, remember three reasons for joy.

ADVENT PRAYER: My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.

Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry

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