This week we light a pink candle on our Advent wreath to remind us of the joy that God’s promise gives to all. Advent, and ultimately Christmas, is a time for rejoicing – the amount of parties, meals, visits and celebrations can seem a bit overwhelming at times and, perhaps, a little strange. In a world where millions of people are starving and/or homeless, where wars continue, a world where climate change seems to be getting the better of us, we could wonder what is there to be joyful about. But our world still holds so much joy – we just need to look a little harder. Certainly, we can’t (and shouldn’t) bury our heads in the sand, a simple scan of a newspaper will show us all the problems still to be solved – but maybe that in itself is a problem. Two thousand years ago life was also tough (imagine travelling nearly 100 miles to register for tax and doing that without a car or public transport), life expectancy was short, and many people lived in poverty but still the world felt joy at God’s promise. Perhaps all we need is to look beyond the stories of misery and see the reasons for joy. Last Friday is a good example, hidden in the papers was the story of Wisdom – a 68-year-old albatross who is set to have her 37th child. Perhaps you saw it, or perhaps you were drawn only to the bad. Our world is in a bad way, there is much that doesn’t reflect the way we should be living, much that isn’t part of God’s plan but in among it all is the possibility of salvation, the small stories of joy which, added together, can still give us hope for the future.
Ecclesiastes 9:7 (GNT) Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.