Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In the third week of Advent, as we wait for Christ’s return, we light the pink candle of “Joy”. As we do – imagine the “joy” of healing. Imagine Delta and Omicron – gone. Imagine cancer and dementia – gone. Just imagine – the joy that will likely burst forth in that day.
John the Baptist is hopelessly imprisoned under the oppressive Herod Antipas regime. John and his disciples imagined the joy of the Messiah’s return. They thought Jesus might be that person. But now, with John in prison, they weren’t sure. Their joy began to slip away. Coming to Jesus, they asked, “Are You the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Luke 7:20) Jesus responds with a demonstration of His divinity – healing and restoring sight to the blind. He told John’s disciples, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard.” (John 7:22) Despite John’s situation, imagine the joy he must’ve experienced knowing God’s promises are being kept!
St. Paul was also in prison when he wrote the Philippians, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4) From prison, knowing the fate awaiting him, a death sentence, Paul still called on God’s people to rejoice! No matter the circumstance in this present world, Rejoice! Whether suffering from illness or injury – Rejoice! Whether imprisoned behind bars or in a difficult situation – Rejoice! How can we do that? Just imagine …
Because of Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross, we don’t need to imagine what it’s like for our sins to be forgiven – sins which separate us from God. We are forgiven all our sins! Due to Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, we also live in the certainty that one day we’ll be raised to new life. Our current circumstance, regardless of what it might be, is only temporary. We rejoice now because we live now – in the promise of the kingdom of heaven where mourning, crying, pain, and death will be no more (Revelation 21:4). Imagine the inexplicable joy on that day!
In Christ’s Love,