Joy - A Clear Sign
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus,
“The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the LORD and a day of vindication by our God.”
Joy is a clear sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Not some superficial forced-smile happiness or hysterical laughter, but deep, unshakable joy. Joy is the fruit of allowing the Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts, to guide our actions, and to focus our desires on higher things. It is the gift that sustains us through hardships and allows us the freedom to be at peace even under great duress.
We can have joy even when in prison because we know that we will be free in heaven. We can be joyful even in poverty because we know we will have everything we need in heaven. We can be joyful even as we mourn the loss of a loved one because we know we will be reunited with them in heaven. We can look forward with joy to the day of the Lord even if that day has not yet come. The year of favor will come, and this year of trial will seem insignificant in comparison to that year of joy. We know that Christ Jesus has come, and we know that He will come again in glory; therefore, we live in joyful hope. Our joy at Christmas is a sign of the eternal joy we anticipate in heaven.
May our hearts be full of joyful expectation, and may our joy spread to all those we meet and greet during this Advent season.
Peace in Christ,
Father Matthew Kuhn