Readings: Isaiah 35: 1-10, Psalm 146: 5-10, Luke 1: 46b-55, James 5: 7-10, Matthew 11: 2-11
Joy comes because hope is realised. Hope is realised when we know that the darkness has no power over us and that we have peace with the one who has authority over us. We do not need hope when we are innocent because in innocence, our hope is fulfilled and we trust our care-givers completely and we do not need hope in the presence of God because we have everything we had hoped for. Between our innocence and our death, once we have discovered that our care-givers are not always perfect, when our trust has been broken, we need hope because without hope we cannot exist and without hope, there can be no joy.
Joy is a consequence of having passed through the darkness that comes because we live outside of relationship with Christ. We have joy in Christ because we recognise how dark life is outside of Christ; who is the light of the world. We fall away from Christ slowly and enter into a space where we follow our own minds, and our desires are the goal of our existence and the more this is the case, the harder it is to find joy because when I am the centre of the world; then I have no hope, no purpose, no vision. When I am the centre, then my life becomes like the water that flows out of a basin – in order to overcome the bottle neck, gravity, friction, pressure and the rotation of the world all helps it form a spiral that is hollow in the centre. That spirals draws the water down and the further down the spiral the water is, the faster it moves. The only thing that can stop the spiral is when something big enough intersects the spiral. It is when we are in that space of hopelessness; near the bottom of the spiral when the light is dimmed, that we realise that we have taken Christ from the centre and our lives are hollow and meaningless. It is in that moment that we return to Christ and allow Him to redeem our lives that the spiral ends because our God is bigger than any vortex we will find ourselves in.
Even though our lives still need redeeming, our hope is already realised because Christ has already defeated the darkness. Christ enters into our world and turns the light on and we see that we have been chasing our own tails and we realise that we can no longer do it the way that we have been doing it.
It is in that moment of allowing Christ to intervene in the vortex of our lives that we find peace, because Christ has made peace with us and we have joy because our hope is realised. Our joy is realised in that moment we no longer rely on our own strength and our own ability to redeem ourselves but we realise that when we do all that we can in obedience to the Holy Spirit that life is redeemed. This is the Christ, the one you were looking for. Rejoice for your hope is realised in Him.