Third week of Advent theme: Joy

"I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

This third week of Advent, we  focus on the joy that Christ’s birth brings to all people.

During Christmas, surrounded by family and friends, we feel the warmth of knowing we belong in this place, with these people. Or we experience the jarring disappointment that can come when we feel we do not belong. This season is a time of opposites—highs and lows, joy and depression, rushing when we want to stand still.

Within the Christmas story itself, we find opposites. Angels, heaven’s most glorious citizens, visit with shepherds, Bethlehem’s least. The God who chose to partner with an unwed mother and be born in a barn also chose shepherds, the outcasts of the day, to be the first to hear the news that Emmanuel has come.

The world has a habit of discarding what doesn't fit. Our God does the opposite. Isaiah 40:11 says, "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart."

God sends angels to shepherds and gathers in what the world throws out. As we read in Jeremiah 30:17, God restores people to health and heals their wounds because they are called outcasts. And He does this very thing on that night in Bethlehem.

In these final days leading up to Christmas, we see angels visiting shepherds. And we remember that God cares for us as lambs. God loves when we do not. God calls us to love everyone, no matter what.


Dear God,

You are the light of the world. In You, there is no darkness at all. There are no outcasts, no one who is not good enough. As we continue on our journey through Advent, help us remember that those whom the world says do not belong, You welcome with open arms.

In Jesus’ name,


Live it out

In the next day or two, joyfully give your time, talent, or treasure to someone in need. If you see someone on the street, invite him or her for a meal or coffee and get to know his or her story. Buy Christmas gifts for a family that is struggling to make ends meet this year. Visit a senior living facility and spend time with those who do not have family nearby during Christmas.

Courtesy of World Vision.

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