Third Sunday of Advent: The Gift of Joy

Submitted by Kennedy Cooper

During the Advent season, I often look around and see people anxious for Christmas: Loved ones trying to find the best gifts for their family members, children anxious to tell Santa what they want, and people focused on the spirit of Christmas. I see all the picture perfect details of Christmas.

I often find myself focused on giving during this season as well. There are the lists of presents I want to give to my friends, family, and others who I love, of course, but I also find myself asking, giving people lists of items that I would like to receive. Sometimes I am so caught up in what I’m getting I forget the real reason for Advent.

You see, Advent is not just about waiting for the arrival of Jesus, but it is also about what is to come after his arrival. While reading Isaiah 61:1-4, I am reminded that the prophet of Isaiah was sent to bring good news to the poor. In this text he makes promises from the Lord that good things will come to the people. Not only does the prophet make promises to the people, but also he claims the year as the Year of the Lord’s favor.

This season isn’t just about the gifts and the picture-perfect Christmas that is spent with loved ones, but its also about the promises God made to us. God promised the people joy, the garment of praise, freedom for the slaves, and renewal of the ruined cities. And because of this the people should have everlasting joy.

So during this season, when you start to care about the gifts that you are getting from loved ones, remember that no gift that is given can be compared to the gift that the Lord has given you. This gift of joy should be celebrated during the Advent season.

(“Hark the Glad Sound! The Savior Comes,” based on Isaiah 61, by Philip Doddridge, 1735, as sung by Port Isaac Fisherman’s Friends)

Kennedy Cooper 2014-2016 (2)Kennedy Cooper serves on the national leadership team of AB GIRLS, American Baptist Women’s Ministries. 15 years old, Kennedy is a member of the Medical Bioscience Academy, Future Business Leaders of America, and Girl Scouts. She is active in her home church where she sings in the youth choir and is part of the usher ministry. She is honored by the opportunity to serve God.

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