“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil.”1 Thessalonians 6:16-22
What is holding your joy captive?
Today, we begin the third week of Advent. In the second reading from 1 Thessalonians 6, St Paul tells us to “rejoice”. How do we rejoice in 2020, the year of quarantine, the year of mistrust in our country, the year that has stolen joy from so many people?
St. Paul tells us how.
- “Pray without ceasing” – God is in all things. Opening our hearts and eyes, uncovers His presence in all.
- “In all circumstances, give thanks” – even in all that has occurred in 2020, thank God for His presence. For only He knows the bigger picture and the plans He has for each of us in all His goodness.
- “Do not quench the Spirit” – the Spirit identifies us in Christ Jesus, it is our aid that helps sustain us through the gifts that He gives us to bear great fruit in our lives. Let it shine in the darkness.
- “Do not despise prophetic utterances” – be open to those in whom God has sent before us to proclaim His good news and “glad tidings” (Isaiah 61:1)
- “Test everything. Retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil” – the world likes to tell us that the season of joy comes from small and big packages wrapped nicely with pretty bows. St Paul tells us we should discern all things, review what brings short term happiness and what brings everlasting life – completeness of one’s body, soul and spirit.
This week begins a week of reflecting on JOY in our lives. The local Christian radio station, each year around Christmas announce the Joy Pledge.
“I need Joy. And when I keep my eyes on Jesus, I have Joy, When I lose it, I will choose it. I choose Joy!”KSBJ
The invitation this week is to say the Joy Pledge and rejoice because today and every day, God is presence in all things.