Today we continue the season of Advent, which helps prepare our hearts for Christmas. Our Advent theme this year is “An Invitation for All People.” Every Christmas is an open invitation from God to every person on planet earth to experience hope, peace, joy, and love through Christ Jesus.
Because Jesus has already come once, the white Christ candle has been lit and will remain lit throughout the Advent season. So far, we have lit the Candles of Hope and Peace. Today we light the pink candle, the Candle of Joy.
We take our reading from 1 Peter 1:8–9, “Though you have not seen [Jesus], you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
Nobody in this room has ever laid their eyes on Jesus. Yet, in this Advent season, we are reminded that many did see him in his first coming. They saw him as the babe in the manger. They looked for him and found him as the child in the temple when his mother Mary and father Joseph mistakenly left him in Jerusalem. They saw him as the one upon whom the Holy Spirit descended like a dove at his baptism. They saw him as a teacher and a healer. They saw him as the one dying on the cross. And they saw him as the resurrected one on that first Easter morning.
Don’t you wish that you could have seen him? Yet, Apostle Peter reminds us that although we’ve never seen Jesus, we still love him. Though he’s not right here in front of our eyes, we believe in him and rejoice with joy that is expressible and filled with glory. Why? Because although we can’t see him, he is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty and is here with us in spirit. He has saved our souls, lives to intercede for us, and leads our life through the gift of the Holy Spirit. And on top of all that, he has given us victory over every one of our enemies, especially the enemy of death. There is great joy in Jesus!
But Advent also reminds us that just as people once saw him, we will see him again. He’s coming again, and one day soon we will see him face to face. Can you imagine the height of that joy? Words can’t express how joyful that joy will be.
And so, this morning we light the Candle of Joy. Joy to the world! The Lord is come! And is coming again! One day your faith shall be sight. From our family to yours, “Merry Christmas!”