But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’
The third Sunday in advent is often associated with the theme of JOY.
We have a new puppy in our family. She’s a bundle of natural joy which is infectious ( which certainly helps when we have to keep cleaning up after her.)
I have friends who have just become parents and grandparents who are full of joy at the arrival of a new life in the world. Their joy is infectious.
I became a Christian just before Christmas 1992. God’s gift to me was joy…and it was infectious! My husband, who was not a believer at the time, noticed that I had changed. Sometime later he started to investigate Christianity for himself and the following year he experienced the joy that comes from salvation. Our souls and marriage were transformed as a result.
This week talk about: Where do we see infectious joy around us? How can we be carriers of joy?
It may be that unconfessed sin and feelings of guilt are sapping our joy. Jesus can restore joy when we confess our sins to God, and if appropriate to one another, and then receive his forgiveness, love and joy.
Prayer (as a couple)
Father God, we are so thankful for Jesus and the Gospel of forgiveness and grace he brought to us. We confess now anything that may be getting in the way of joy in you (openly to one another or silently). We ask for your forgiveness and for the Holy Spirit to fill us again so that we may be infectious joy for each other and for those around us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Prayer (for others)
Father God, we pray for… and … that they may know joy in their hearts and in their marriage. We pray that you would open their eyes and ears to the Gospel this Christmas season. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.