Advent 3: Joy

“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’”
Psalm 126:2

Advent 3If you do an internet search of images of Jesus, you will find pictures from many completely different perspectives. One picture from Latin America shows Jesus on a wanted poster. A Korean painting shows Jesus with Korean features carrying the cross. A painting from the Philippines shows the crucifixion in the style of the cubists. Some of the images portray the raw emotion of a violent and horrific death on the cross. Others show Jesus in relationship with the people around him, depicted as people from the artists’ native lands. There are images that show Jesus in every emotion and in every situation we see in the scriptures.

One picture from Latin America that has been reproduced in many and various ways is called “The Laughing Christ.” It shows Jesus with a huge smile on his face, as if he had just heard the best joke. He is happy and he isn’t afraid to show it. His laughing face reflects the words from the psalm above and which we will read in worship this week.

Of course, there are times when we have reason to be serious. Life can be
difficult, confusing, and grievous.

King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes that sorrow is better than laughter. Laughter is often seen in a negative light because we sometimes go about life and faith with a lack of seriousness. But in the Psalm 126, we are reminded that there is joy in what God has done for his people.

Remember, Miriam danced when the Israelites made it across the Red Sea. David danced when the Ark of the Covenant arrived in Jerusalem. It’s almost impossible to not dance in celebration and joy without laughing! Joy comes from God, and when we know the joy of the Lord, it is impossible not to laugh.

We have good reason to laugh: Jesus played the most incredible joke on the devil. Satan thought he’d have control once Jesus died, but in three days Jesus was raised to new life and we now have everlasting life by his grace.

We joyfully look forward to the life we will share with him forever. The devil can’t take that from us. Please join us this Sunday as we rejoice so that the world will see how God’s promises have been fulfilled through Jesus!

– Adapted from Sola Publishing’s “Weekly Devotional”