Precious Truth:” Though sorrow may last for a night, joy comes in the morning”
Today’s Reading from The Word
Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. 5 Finally these men said, â€œWe will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.â€
6 So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: â€œMay King Darius live forever! 7 The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lionsâ€™ den. 8 Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be alteredâ€”in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.â€ 9 So King Darius put the decree in writing.
It so happens that the devotional passage for today is about Daniel, particularly the story of his being thrown into a den a lions. And it is also the Sunday when we light the Candle of Joy in the Advent wreath.
This is a happy pairing, since it guides us to consider the difference between joy and happiness, which we usually lump together.
Joy can arise in the midst of the worst circumstances, and it has its basis not in how we feel, but in our hope and in events that are sometimes quite outside our experience of the moment. People can rejoice in a Victory after a long hard war. They can rejoice in relief, or someone else’s blessing, or in truth revealed to them. Any of those events can give birth to joy.
Some have said that the candle of joy marks the fact that we are nearing the end of the advent waiting period, and drawing closer to the birthday of Christ. The angels and shepherds rejoiced and had joy at the news of this event at its revelation in the world.
Their joy came with hope, the hope that came with a Savior.Sometimes it is those who most realize their need for such things as a Savior that can experience the greatest joy.
Jesus remarked on this very thing:
You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgivenâ€”as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.â€
If you have received Christ, and your sins are forgiven you, you have much to rejoice over and have joy for this Christmas. It isn’t all about the presents under the tree, or jolly times with friends and family. Sometimes it isn’t, at all, about that. But it is about a Savior who came from Heaven for you, just to help you receive His joy.