Yesterday we lit the candle of Joy representing the joy of the Lord which He sent to the world in His Son Jesus.  The events which surround the birth of Christ and the people mentioned in the birth narratives are filled with joy.  There is joy at the birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah.  There is the joy of Mary as she rejoices in her soul at the mystery of God over her life.  There is the joy of the Maji who traveled hundreds of miles to worship the child in Bethlehem.

Joy is something that is more than a feeling; it a condition which comes from outside our lives.  Joy is produced by good news, good fortune, or good relationships with others.  In Scripture Jesus claimed that His joy was not like the joy found in the world but was of a different quality.  Paul noted that joy is something produced within our lives by the Holy Spirit.  Scripture declares that the joy which comes from the Lord is actually our strength. (Neh. 8:10)  Our joy then comes from God and and rests in Him. (Ps. 43:4)

Joy then is a normal and important part of a believer’s life.  It is a constant no matter our circumstances and it is a gift from God reminding us that He is working in this world to accomplish His plans and purposes.  We have the joy of the Lord in our salvation from sin and death.  We have the joy of the Lord when our hearts are broken and our lives seems to be going nowhere.  We have joy that cannot be expressed in knowing Christ even though we have yet to see Him face to face.

In Isaiah 55:1-13, God offers us His mercy if we “seek Him while He may be found and call upon Him while He is near.” (v.6)  Finding God’s mercy assures us that we will “go out with joy, and be led forth with peace.”  Nothing is more important to us than joy and peace.  Joy that is beyond expression and peace that passes understanding are gifts from the God of grace, truth and mercy.

As you light the candle of Joy tonight rejoice in the Lord for His mercy and grace.