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“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

What makes you “ReJoyce?” Sometimes it’s just the little things. My taste buds recently rejoiced with the delightful surprise of berry basil lemonade sipped on the Desert Botanical Garden patio with beloved family. Sometimes it’s the cool breeze that provides relief in the heat. Sometimes it’s the smile from a stranger on a hard day. If we’re sick maybe it’s the cool, soft sheets that hold us as we rest. Sometimes it’s a big event like a birth or a wedding that causes our hearts to rejoice with a surge of love. Whatever causes us to rejoice is pure and many times unexpected gift!

Beloved author C.S. Lewis wrote in Surprised by Joy “... Joy, which is a technical term, must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and Pleasure. Joy has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted joy would ever exchange it for all the pleasure in the world.”

This Advent 2023 we will ponder how to rejoice in this weary world that we travel together. The prophet Isaiah foretold that the Messiah would be a joy-bringer, that he would transform the world, that he would transform lives in despair. When Jesus came to us the angels rejoiced, Joy to the world! Before Jesus departed, he reassured his bereaved followers in John 16:22: “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

As the prophet Nehemiah says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” We can draw on that strength at all times. We may not feel happy. But we can still find small moments to rejoice in the little things that bring us joy. As C.S. Lewis once wrote: “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” Remember this and remember it well, the Joy of the Lord is our strength in all circumstances.

ReJoyce, Pastor Andrea