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Fourth Sunday of Advent – Joy

2007 December 23
by Julie Clawson

Joy to the world

The Lord has come.

Let Earth receive her King.

I think it is easy to receive Christ as a baby. Incarnation in such a small, helpless, and cute form, although odd, isn’t very threatening. Or life altering.

For many of us it is even easy to accept Christ as a sacrificial lamb who died to take away our sins. We understand that exchange and make that event the entire focus of our faith.

But it is a lot harder to receive Christ as our King. Accepting a king implies allegiance. Not just awe or gratefulness, but fealty. It requires being willing to obey the command of this King, follow where he leads, and make his priorities our priorities. In other words receiving Christ as our King means altering our lifestyles, giving up of ourselves, and embarking on an unpredictable adventure. It can be a little scary.

So for many it may seem odd to say “joy to the world…receive your King.” It is easy to feel joy at the birth of a baby, or even when someone has paid a debt for us. It is harder to feel joy in saying that we will commit our lives to serving our King.

But this is the life we are called to as believers. A life of service which is also a life of joy. It is a paradox and mystery that isn’t easily grasped by minds trained to look out for number 1. But it is the promise to those who have faith.

So on this last Sunday of Advent as we light the candle of joy, let us remember that joy isn’t just a happy feeling but is part of the mystery of our faith that comes from serving and following our King.

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Fourth Sunday of Advent 2006

And be sure to check out the other great bloggers who participated in this Advent Synchroblog –

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. December 24, 2007

    Excellent post. Very insightful. We want the security of Jesus as our Savior without the responsibility of him as our Lord. Good stuff.

  2. Larry permalink
    December 8, 2009

    The last Sunday of Advent is not Joy, it’s Love. Apparently you have rearraged the order of the Sundays for some reason. The traditional / liturgical order is Hope, Peace, Joy, Love. The 3rd Sunday is called “Gaudette Sunday”, from the Latin word, meaning “Rejoice”.

  3. December 9, 2009

    Larry – I know the tradition, but the Evangelical tradition I grew up has made a new tradition of celebrating Joy as the culmination of the weeks of advent. So both traditions and orders are correct, depending on your particular point of view.

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