ADVENT Joy

I do enjoy the Christmas season -white lights in trees, mulled wine, log fires, Christmas present shopping, baking with cinnamon, Classic FM…

But this week in Yorkshire has been a little bleak: milder days, grey skies, damp air and the sun disappears behind the low hills over the valley from my home far too early in the day.

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I raked up the remainder of the leaves from my garden yesterday in the company of my eldest son who was cutting a hedge (Student needing jobs at home to raise cash!). He is such good company, even if his style of hedge cutting is more akin to a ‘gym workout’ whilst brandishing a petrol hedge cutter.

Every morning this week (actually this month) we have enjoyed the deep, loud and base notes of Christmas carols as my youngest son (17) sings his way through Advent

All three of my sons bring me joy and we have had happy times together and apart this year.

I am, however, so very aware this year of how some friends’ lives have been devoid of happiness and loved ones who had been a source of their joy have been snatched away.

Advent reminds me that there is joy ahead for followers of Jesus. His coming is nearer with each watery sunset, and as the Northern hemisphere sees out the year end in driech damp days, His coming is as sure as Spring.

I stand with all of you who suffer this year and whisper in the direction of the leaden skies “Come Lord Jesus”.

Still, I am impatient. And I can know joy now – the fullest kind of joy known to mankind. It’s found in the presence of God. Many haven’t dared enter this space without retribution in the past, but Jesus made a way for us when he died on the cross. We ‘draw near’ to the presence of the Most High when we pray in Jesus name.

Psalm 16:11

You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

So many things offer me happiness, and many more offer me joy . Only Jesus offers joy that will last

Romans 8. 35-39 (NLT)

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?  (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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I wish you all a happy and joyful Christmas.

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