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joy complete – advent 2022



The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Troubled souls.

I can be included in that category. Troubled. Imperfect. Poor in spirit. In need of a Savior.

Hope and peace turn our hearts towards this “something greater to come”. We know that our hope is secure. We know that peace is Immanuel – God with us. And so, joy is birthed from the conviction that something – Someone – greater is coming.

Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress.

Isaiah 9:1

Isaiah prophesied that a time was coming when there “will be no more gloom”. He declared that a light would pierce the darkness, and the joy of mankind would increase.

He was prophesying the coming of the Messiah – Jesus Christ. Hope was imminent.

But first, there would be gloom and despair. Troubled souls, like yours and mine, would be waiting, hoping, wondering, and longing. Like the beloved hymn states: “Long lay the world in sin and error pining”.

Mankind was in need of a Savior.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

Isaiah 9:2

But, finally, light broke through the wall of thick darkness. The weary world was shaken to attention. The announcement to the shepherds, the star that guided the wise men, it was a most significant event – the dawning of the Messiah.

You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.

Isaiah 9:2

This event…this light dawning, would be more than a beautiful sunrise. It would be more than a bright and shining star. It was a promise that something greater would cause troubled souls to rejoice. It was likened to reaping a harvest or a great feat by a warrior. It was going to bring a kind of joy that would increase and expand everything in their small and gloomy world. It was a moment that would take the crazy and the chaos, the messy and the out-of-order, and bring everything – all creation – into wholeness and completeness.

Mankind is still in need of a Savior.

Christ came, and he brought his perfect peace, but not every soul has grasped it. There are still so many walking daily in the darkness and gloom. They have yet to experience the joy of Christ’s light. They are trying so hard to put things in order in their own power. They live as though the promise of hope has yet to come.

I think we can all be found guilty of this, if we were honest. We forget that Christ came, and his light gives us everything we need to rejoice. We forget that he is coming again. We lose that anticipation of the second coming. Our joy wanes in the heaviness of the here and now.

But when we recognize that our souls are troubled, that our own imperfections cloud the truth, then we are on our way to being transformed by the Light shining in the darkness.

If you have not felt the troubledness of your soul, then you cannot truly experience the joy of Christmas…the hope of what is to come. If you are hardened to the true condition of humanity, and you live blinded to the gloom and despair, then the reality of Christmas, and the light that shot down from heaven to earth – illuminating everything – will be sadly lost on you. Christmas will only amount to trees and tinsel and presents and unmet longing. We must acknowledge our troubled souls in order to appreciate and grasp the enormity of Christ’s humble arrival over 2000 years ago, and his imminent return. There is no greater joy than the promise that Christ fulfilled, and the promise yet to come. This Advent is a celebration of what has already come to pass, and what is most surely on its way…Christ has come, and he is coming again!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.

Isaiah 9:6,7

Christ is with us. He is Immanuel.

There is joy in his presence.

And Christ is coming again.

The Advent of his coming makes our joy complete.

I am looking for something…for Someone…greater to come.

Jesus Christ…Savior and Messiah.

Are you, too, a troubled soul? Have you had a moment of spiritual amnesia? Have you forgotten Immanuel?

Are you struggling to put your life, this world, back into order? Are you weary?

Reflecting on the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy what brings you hope, peace and joy? Can you connect the dots beginning with the promise fulfilled which leads to the promise of Christ’s second coming?

Is your joy complete in Christ? If not, what do you need to release right now in order to experience the hope, peace and joy that Christ has to offer you?

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious mor

Placide Cappeau

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