…my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:47‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Yesterday was the Advent Sunday of Joy. This marks a turn in our observation of Advent. We move from the quiet waiting of hope and peace to the celebration of joy and love.

I always find this turn exciting. Christmas is drawing near! Many of the responsibilities of the season have been met – extra services have been put together, I’ve hosted the elders for an open house, we finally celebrated my Mother’s birthday, the gifts (in my case) have all been bought. There are still some responsibilities and experiences to come, but I feel ready and excited to be part of them rather than worried about them or stressed by them.

So, for me, joy has arrived at precisely the right time. That may not be true for everyone. I am always aware at this time of year that there are those for whom celebrations won’t come easily. They are dealing with grief or uncertainty. They are finding it hard to make ends meet, or they are alone in a season that is all about togetherness.

There is a song entitled “Grown Up Christmas List,” (check out my fave version here) that includes the lyrics:

No more lives torn apart,
That wars would never start
and time would heal all hearts

That everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end, oh
This is my grown-up Christmas list

This is my prayer for those who struggle at this time of year. I sing these words throughout Advent, whenever this song comes up on the Christmas playlist shuffle in my car. I sing them with joy, but also as a sincere prayer.

This Advent, may your spirit rejoice in God, your saviour. May those who are hurting be healed. And may all of us find and take the opportunity to be a friend, to heal a hurt and to experience joy.

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