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Advent 2023 week 3: Joy

Dec. 15, 2023

The Advent season is upon us and traditionally many churches will light a blue or purple candle to symbolize the faith elements of hope, peace, joy and love. This school year’s Advent devotional series begins on December 1, 2023 and will end on Christmas Eve.

“To comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting for the LORD to display his splendor.” – Isaiah 61:2-3

Kahu Manu Naeole KS Kapālama
On our family walks, my son has a habit of running ahead of me to get me to slow down, then twirling around and shooting his hands in the air to motion for me to pick him up and carry him. It is a nightly occurrence. It is a nightly plea for help. Each night, he hopes and prays for Dad to pick him up. The embrace is the source of joy in his time of mourning.

First-century Israel longed for God to come and help them. They waited for God to carry and embrace His people. They were the infant pleading with unspoken words for the expectant arrival of love. Israel had their ideas of how to save the world but God came as a child wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger (Luke 2:7). The child is God's embrace of joy with a people in mourning.

In this Advent season, joy is the father hoisting his child into a warm embrace, and more, it is the embrace of God wrapped around the world when God comes to be with His people. The Christ child is the oil of joy given to us this season. ʻĀmene.

Kahu ‘Ōpio Selah Fronda, KS Kapālama Class of 2024
In a chaotic time of deaf ears and hardened hearts, it’s refreshing to experience the sincerity of a child– to hear a toddler’s endearing giggle or listen to their naive take on the world. As a child, I remember saying, "WOW, Jesus made the clouds look like chicken nuggets today! Maybe he was hungry?" Silly comments like these may seem uneducated but they parallel the supposed nature of our hearts as believers.

This Christmas season, may we approach the throne with this same childlike wonder, finding joy in the little blessings and appreciating the fingerprints of Jesus in the world around us.

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