This is the third sunday of Advent which is commemorated to celebrating joy. As we get closer to Christmas, I light the pink candle on my Advent wreath, which reminds me of the angels singing songs of joy pronouncing the birth of Christ.

But when I look around, it seems to me like everybody is in a bad mood and stressed out. Why is that? I know there’s a lot to do. I know the weather is freezing cold outside. I know many of us are getting sick, have allergies, and aches and pains. I know work pressures can be extra heavy with year end duties. I know because I am experiencing the same things.

But is any of that a reason to lose our joy? As I watch the pink candle glowing, I am reminded that no matter what is going on around me or in me physically, God is still with me. Emmanuel means “God with us”. He promises never to leave me or forsake me, and He is my closest friend. He will take care of everything that concerns me and I can trust that things will all work out for my good. Now that is something to be joyful about!

If you are struggling with the busyness and stress of this season, take a few moments to light a candle. Breathe, relax, and let the tension drain from your mind and body. Perhaps you may want to read a favorite verse or two of scripture to clear your mind. Instead of focusing on your to do list, give the list to the Lord, and focus on joy this week. Notice how you feel. Go ahead and relax and smile, and let your joy be contagious! It’s a great gift to give others and it’s free!

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