Pastoral Reflections

Joy.  We sing about it in carols, hear of its presence in the manger, and even set aside a Sunday of Advent for it.  This blissful feeling seems to surround the holiday season.  But sometimes joy seems to be overshadowed by sorrows, drowned out by busyness, or drained by difficult circumstances.  Truthfully, it can even feel completely depleted.
When the wise men saw the star, we are told that they were filled with exceeding joy.  This word joy is defined as recognizing God’s grace.  Interestingly joy’s action is “to fill.”  Both Jesus and Paul spoke of being filled with joy in such a way as to be satisfied and made complete (John 15:11, Romans 15:13).  This seems to imply that joy may need to be replenished.  How do we do that?
The wise men’s full joy seemed to come from belief in God’s promised salvation even when all they could see was a baby.  For years, they had relentlessly hoped in God’s goodness and their joy was filled by experiencing the sign of God’s lovingkindness in Bethlehem.  And in spite of the warnings that Herod would seek to destroy the anointed child, they focused on God’s faithfulness to His people through all circumstances.  The promised King was present with them and they rejoiced.
This advent our prayer liturgy has stated, “in joyful expectation of His coming to our aid, we pray to the Lord.”  During the healing prayer service this Sunday, we invite you to come as the wise men.  But rather than bringing gifts, bring your sorrows, your circumstances, your concerns. Come with hope that God will fill you with joy – that is, an experience of His grace, an awareness of His presence, and a deeper trust in His promise that He is our help and salvation.

Reflections by Sarah Wakefield
Sarah leads the Healing Prayer Ministry at TLC. __________________________________________________________________________________________
Donald Nwankwo
The Light of Christ Anglican Church
4000 W. Yale Ave.
Denver, CO 80219