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Advent: Joy

by Scott Kelly on December 07, 2020

C.S. Lewis famously wrote, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”  The key to understanding this statement is found in the words “in myself.” By this, Lewis not only refers to those personal, unsatisfied desires which often plagued his heart, but also the very notion that self can be both the source and the object of satisfaction. 

The idea that satisfaction can be fabricated through the fulfillment of personal desire is a fool’s errand.  And yet many of us spend an enormous amount of time chasing shadows and mirages in hopes that happiness and pleasure will no longer elude us.  How often have you been left empty-hearted following the culmination of an earth-bound wish, desire or dream?  It seems Lewis was right.  We’re made for another world.

When the angel appeared to the shepherds in Luke 2:10, he declared to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”  Though the shepherds were undoubtedly frightened by the appearance of an angel, and the ambient presence of God’s glory, there is a fear that lingers in each of us even when angels have not made a startling appearance in our lives.  We nurture this fear through a nagging suspicion that our lives won’t matter and that we’re not truly loved.  And yet, the angel’s announcement in Luke 2 clarifies and defines the glorious solution to this dis-ease. 

Notice first that the announcement in Luke 2:10 emanated from an angel, a created being from another world.  The source of this message should alert us that the prescription for our dis-ease cannot be found within the temporal boundaries of personal effort or even social constructs.  What we need is beyond and above us.  In a play on words, the angel makes clear that he brings “good news,” the very root of the word “angel,” which means bearer of good news.  And this good news is known to us as the Gospel.  As the Apostle Paul declared in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”  The Gospel doesn’t just contain the power of God, it is the power of God.  And though this good news of salvation is available to everyone, it’s personally intended for you.  Jesus was born because, fundamentally, you need to be saved from yourself, and not just delivered from your dire circumstances, dashed expectations, broken heartedness, or unfulfilled desires.  As the angel made clear, the news about the Christ-child leads not to guilt or shame, but to great joy. 

In Psalm 16:11, King David declares of God, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” The pathway of life is paved with an awareness that our joy will never be rooted in something found in or derived from this world.  It’s through the Gospel that you are ushered into the satisfying presence of God.  Once there, the Good News continues to powerfully resonate by breaking through the false gospels that are lodged in your heart. 

Rest assured.  You were made for another world.  Only in the presence of the One who created you and loves you will you find joy that satisfies.  This is why Jesus was born, that through his suffering he might bring you to the Father (1 Peter 3:18).  Good news of great joy . . . all for you.

Tags: christmas, advent, joy

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