Column — Hope. Love. Joy. Peace.

Published 8:00 am Sunday, December 19, 2021

Hope. Love. Joy. Peace. Christ. With these five topics for advent, how could one go wrong? All five of these topics are filled with tons of information that should fill our heart and mind to overflowing. All five things are needed in growing our faith. All five of these hit us right where they’re needed as we strive to go day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Hope. Love. Joy. Peace. Christ.

Each week of devotions, we strive to grow together and challenge ourselves to dig deeper. Two weeks ago, we started our advent countdown with hope. Last week we added the concept of love in our advent series and saw how love truly is all we need. Let’s knock out the next two on this list this week so that Christmas week we can focus on what not only this time of year is about, but what life as a whole is truly all about: Christ.

All of the topics and themes for advent can be tied together so well as a whole. Joy and peace are no different. Joy is something missing from most of our lives. Psalm 30:5 tells how though sorrow may last for the night (or even longer) joy comes in the morning. Hope gives us the promised assurance of better days ahead. Love covers our hearts with what is needed daily and in what is truly the greatest of all emotions. Joy fills us so that we may pour into others. This joy candle, which is also known as the “Shepherd’s Candle,” is more than we might realize. Joy is something bigger, badder and better than just being happy. Jerry Bridges once said, “Only those who walk in Holiness experience true joy.” Life without God may have moments of happiness… but true joy is only found in the hope, love and peace of Christ (in case you didn’t notice… that’s the other four candles/themes of advent). No matter what we face, the Joy of Christ makes life doable.

The fourth candle of advent is known as the “Peace Candle” or the “Angel’s Candle.” Luke 1 shows an angel telling Mary she will be the mother of Jesus. This sweet baby will bring the greatest peace our lives will ever know. The peace in knowing, no matter what happens around us or what we have to deal with, God is right here. We can handle anything with the peace God gives.

Jesus calls us to be peace giving (to love everybody). As we look forward to Christmas, may we keep hope, love, joy and peace lit up in our hearts as we await Christ’s arrival. Lord, help us be the good.

Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor of Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at jamescameronbailey@gmail.com.