Intentional Advent: Day 16

As Julie mentioned yesterday, this week’s Advent theme is JOY.

When I was younger, I grappled with the concept of joy in James 1:2: “Consider it an opportunity for great joy when troubles come your way” (NLT).

I mistakenly equated joy with happiness, realizing later, especially as a believer, that they are fundamentally different. My pastor, Bob Neely, clarified this distinction during a hospital visit when my mom faced cancer in 2000. Happiness is fleeting and tied to circumstances, whereas joy, as a believer, is ever-present, he shared with me.

Throughout my mom’s four-year battle with cancer, we experienced “great JOY” despite trials. Christ’s promise, His Word, unconditional love, and the support of the Christian community sustained us. His presence, peace, grace, and strength were evident, fulfilling His assurance to never leave us or forsake us.

This Christmas, the birth of Christ is a poignant reminder that Immanuel, God with us, brings lasting JOY.

Share a trial where you discovered His JOY.

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