Do you know people who are joy challenged?  I do and one of them is me.  I’m still on step 5 of my 12-step joy program.  I grew up in the Midwest and joyous expressions were verboten.  We were taught to not draw attention to ourselves. In our tribe, Christianity required a serious demeanor.  Remember Michal who despised David dancing in front of the Ark of the Covenant? (2 Sam 6:16)  I’m convinced she was from the Midwest, probably a Baptist cousin.

So, what is joy anyway?  Joy is best defined from the Greek adjective, entheos or “having the God within.”  It means one acts as if he is “possessed by God,” “crazy excitement,” or “un-regulated religious fervor.” What a great definition for joy, “infused unregulated excitement for God.”  You just can’t control it. Full throttled joy!

The third Sunday of Advent is the week of proclamation. The heavenly message heard by the shepherds concerned “good news of great joy.”  Joy characterizes the Christmas season.  After the shepherds saw Jesus, they immediately departed to share that joy.

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  So they hurried off and found Mary, Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child.  (Luke 2:15-17)

Dear Father, our hearts are filled with joy because of the good news of Jesus.  Like the shepherds, help us to tell others about his amazing presence in our lives.

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