Sunday, December 11
James 1:2-3 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
We often try to equate happiness and joy. But those of us who have felt happiness slip away realize that we need something more profound than those positive emotions that come during good times.
Joy is different. It doesn’t pop in suddenly or pass by on a whim.
Joy isn’t fickle or subject to mood swings.
Joy stems from enduring life's trials, temptations, aches, and pains and realizing that Jesus was there the whole time, teaching, loving, and upholding us.
Happiness is wavering.
Joy is steadfast.
During this season, we celebrate that Jesus brought us lasting Joy! Through his life, death, and resurrection, we have something more substantial than the fragile, fleeting feelings of happiness.
We have Jesus, and in him, we have all that we need.
He has given us a new identity… his complete acceptance and approval… the freedom to walk confidently, knowing we are cared for and loved.
THE LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT CANDLES:
Have one member of the family light the first purple candle. The candle of Hope!
Have one member of the family light the second purple candle. The candle of Peace!
Have one member of the family light the third purple candle. The candle of Joy!
Talk about these questions with your family or group.
- Are you starting to get impatient while you wait for Christmas to get here??
- What is the best gift that you have ever given someone else?
Teens & Adults:
- How have you experienced the differences between happiness and joy?
- What fragile, fleeting, worldly things are you tempted to trust to give you joy?
- Talk about a time when you felt a joy that outlasted positive circumstances.
- The Magi saw the star and erupted with joy. Their next steps took them to Jesus in worship.
- What steps can we take to anchor our joy in our relationship with Jesus?
- That we would see Jesus rightly and in him find unshakeable joy.