Gladness and Joy

Hand holding burning match with words, The light shines in  the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it representing gladness

The source of our gladness is Jesus Himself!

This is the message of the first Advent. Hear the Angels’ message, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” And it is definitely the message of the second coming of our Savior!

A highway will be there, a roadway,
And it will be called the Highway of Holiness.
… the redeemed will walk there,
And the ransomed of the Lord will return
And come with joyful shouting to Zion,
With everlasting joy upon their heads.
They will find gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away. 

Isaiah 35:8a,10

As we approach Christmas it is easy to lack hope. We are still in the midst of a pandemic that has taken more than 800,000 lives. Approximately 175,000 children have lost a parent or primary caregiver. Some of those lost both parents. And still, nearly 1,000 people are dying daily.

The staggering number of deaths due to COVID-19 is now higher than the 700,000 Americans who have died from AIDS-related illnesses over the last four decades. It is higher than the total number of American troops who have died in battle since 1900, and about the same as the population of North Dakota. The U.S. has also recorded more deaths — and cases — than any other country in the world.

ABC News December 14, 2021

We’ve become somewhat numb to the numbers, desensitized, a psychological survival process. How do we honor so many deaths, honor their lives?

At the time of Jesus’ birth, Israel had been in “exile” for about 400 years. There had been no prophets, no glory in the temple, no word from God. God seemed distant. But with the coming of the infant, suddenly there were angels, prophetic words. Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Simeon, Anna all responded with hope.

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.

Isaiah 9:2

Advent is a season of longing for Immanuel, God with us! This Covid season is one of longing for Immanuel! We need to be reminded that the joy, the gladness of the Lord is our strength!

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:5

A Merry Christmas. (Nativity scene) representing our gladness in Jesus.

The darkness has not, will not overcome! The Lord our God is in our midst, the mighty one who will save! He rejoices over us with gladness. He quiets us by His love. He exults over us with loud singing!

Hear Him tonight, all you who are grieving, hurting, weary, confused. He is singing over you! A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.

Isaiah 61:1-3

The source of our gladness is Jesus Himself!

Father, Your coming at Christmas brings us so much hope and longing for your final coming! Help us to be your ambassadors of peace in our world. Give us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness. May our devotion to you be complete, our lives worthy of Your calling. Amen.

If you would like to continue reading, I invite you to read “Walk In the Light!

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