And the third Advent candle symbolizes joy! 

We light it to remind ourselves that this is not simply a season of hope for that special gift or dreams that wars and hatred will cease.   It is a season in which we ought find joy but joy requires some things and not necessarily “stuff”

Joy is the sheer pleasure of love found in the arms of a beloved.   It is the celebration of dreams and hope fulfilled.   To achieve it people require safety, security, and a willingness to embrace pleasure.   The media is filled with stories of women whose safety and security is violated by men who seek to use their power to dominate and take advantage.   We often forget the insecurity of those who live in insecure and unsafe neighborhoods filled with gangs or poverty or both.   And then there is the insecurity of empty tables when children are hungry, mouths need to be fed.   Joy seems too often overwhelmed by life lived with eyes and ears wide open.

However, as we light this candle of Joy, let us embrace the notion of the here but not yet – the here as the presence of God, the not yet is the hope, peace, and joy that presence ought engender through security and safety for all in every aspect of life.   Let us embrace the joy, the pleasure of this season and use it as a foundation to make the not yet real.

From Beneath the Pulpit,
Tom Williams, The Interim