JOY MAKES THE DIFFERENCE IN OUR ENCOUNTERS
(Wednesday, December 14th)
Dazzle: to shine brilliantly; to arouse admiration by an impressive display; to impress deeply, overpower, or confound with brilliance
Delight: to take great pleasure; to give keen enjoyment; to give joy or satisfaction to
For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.
(Matthew 18:20 NRSVUE)
Over the years, I have heard dynamic speakers at a variety of spiritual retreats and conferences. I was impressed by their expertise, their charisma, their ability to speak with eloquence and insight, and their visibly enthusiastic passion for God. I have attended Christian concerts and been amazed by the talent and energy of the bands. These popular leaders have dazzled me while influencing and inspiring my faith and discipleship. I am thankful for these speakers and entertainers who share their joy by serving God with their passion and gifts.
But there is nothing like the joy I feel when I encounter folks who are genuinely delighted to see me! They radiate joy as if I am someone special – and I sense the presence of Christ in them. Their warm smiles and embraces, their eagerness to hear my stories, and their sincere care for me are huge gifts of love. They bring joy through their selfless way of setting themselves aside and letting Christ’s light and love shine through.
We experience a dynamic joy when we sense God’s power moving through the talents and energies of great speakers and musicians. But we experience an abiding joy when we feel Christ’s presence moving through our friendships and love, in our genuine concern for one another, in the joy of our mutual, shared community.
We may not have dazzling gifts and talents to extend the ripple effect of Advent Joy, but we can radiate Joy in our delight for one another! As we shine with the warmth and light of God’s love, beaming with genuine happiness and concern for others, we will become humble agents of sweet and sincere Advent Joy.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil; hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:9-10 NRSVUE)