Joy Sunday says it all. The third Sunday of Advent is marked by the pink- or rose-colored candle in the wreath in many traditions. It is the one where we are reminded of the news that shall be a great joy to all people—the news that Emmanuel is born, God with us. And we stand in the promise even today, even here, in this place, in your place – God is with you. There can be no greater joy than that.
In this image I chose a few of the many vivid visuals from the text and created a kaleidoscope of sorts. Starting in the center, crocuses bloom, weak hands are strengthened, eyes are opened, bodies leap with joy, burning sand becomes a pool, swamps are formed, and the light of gladness radiates from the entire composition. Please don’t get me wrong; there are certainly seasons of disappointment, devastation, and grief in this life, but we need not make our homes there. We could choose to shy away from such optimism during particularly difficult times while getting endlessly lost and settled into apathy and despair. Or, we could choose a better way, and hold fast to the stories of the joy that is to come.
Today would be the day to break out “Joy to the World!” Today would be the day to sing “Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates” about the one who is coming to dwell with us, to claim us and heal us and to send us. Let joy, which has been a part of this whole Advent series, now be the center stage, the dominant mood, as we gather.