“Rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16 NASB)
It ranks right up there with these other challenging passages:
“In everything give thanks.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV)
“Giving thanks always for all things.” (Ephesians 5:20 KJV)
Just last night at my house, we had a semi-major disaster (I won’t tell you what it was because it could be embarrassing since it was caused by human error). We had to stop everything else we were doing to deal with the issue that erupted to change our evening plans. In fact, we are still dealing with the aftermath and I anticipate it will continue to impact us for days to come.
So, how am I supposed to “rejoice”?
Well, the first thing we must do is separate the terms “happy” and “joy.” They are not the same thing.
I am definitely not happy about the disaster at my house. Joy on the other hand is not predicated on circumstances. Joy is a characteristic of our inner being, our soul, that is impacted by the relationship we have with Christ. With Christ, we can have hope, love, peace, and joy. (Oooo! Sounds like advent!)
This Sunday, the third Sunday in Advent is about Joy. The French term Gaudette is often used to name this Sunday. I’s the Latin word for Rejoice. The most visible symbol of this day is the pink or rose candle in the Advent Wreath.
We find joy in knowing that Christ has come, that Christ is present with us – even in the midst of the trials of our times, and that Christ will come again!
Together we sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”
PS: for more on “Joy to the World,” the carol that wasn’t a carol see my YouTube video.