Advent 4.6: A Joy that is Pure

Light all three purple candles and one pink/red candle..
Read: Isaiah 51:11, Rev 21:1-4

“Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” (Isa. 51:11)

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21:3-4)

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There is little worse than being far away from home but having no choice but to stay far from home. There’s no going back — at least not anytime soon — and all that you feel is distant and lonely.

That’s the was it was for the exiled Jews of the 500’s B.C. They were in Babylon and Persia, a thousand miles or more away from home, and with little hope of going back home. But God gives them a glimmer of hope in Isaiah 51. He says that the people will be redeemed, indeed, ransomed, from exile and would return to their land with joyful singing. Everlasting joy would adorn them and worry and sorrow would be far away. What a beautiful picture!

The same is true for the believer in Jesus Christ. Because of the Babe in the manger, our Lord, we will have a homecoming that is just as wonderful. And joy will adorn us just as it adorned the Jews of old. Revelation 21 paints the picture of a new heaven and new earth — a place where God dwells in person with man. A place where we can experience everlasting joy. There will be no more crying, no more pain. No more hurtful words, no more shame. But God Himself will wipe every tear from every eye. In other words, it will be joy purified.

Joy may be an emotion that we experience here on earth as well as a state of mind but it is also a promise. A promise that what is hurtful and wrong here on earth will one day fade away and what remains will not be regret but instead joy. A pure joy that allows us to celebrate from pure hearts and enjoy the pure presence of our pure and sovereign Lord

Don’t you long for that day?

Be God’s.