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Evidence of Joy

Philippians 4:4-5 (VOICE)
Most of all, friends, always rejoice in the Lord! I never tire of saying it: Rejoice! Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. 

Joy is a gift. It is a choice. It is the outpouring of Jesus. And as we follow Jesus, we get to share it with others. In Galatians 5 we learn that the fruit of the Spirit, the evidence of following Jesus, looks like love, joy and peace, among other gifts. The things we have been talking about for the last four weeks are the eternal gifts of God as we walk in his ways, and have relationship with him. Life with Jesus changes us. We no longer look like what the world expects, but we look like Jesus. This gives us opportunity to share with those around us what it looks like to walk with Him. And the everlasting joy that comes from knowing Him.

Isn’t that a gift you want to share this Christmas? Christmas can be a difficult season for a myriad of reasons, but when we know Jesus and trust him, we can trust that Love, Peace and Joy will never fail us and we can bring others that as well. Who is someone that you can share the gifts of Advent with this Christmas? Is there anyone you know that doesn’t have Christmas you can invite to your table?

Lectio Divina Practice
As you walk through the Lectio Divina today, read the scripture above and meditate on it, allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal himself to you.

  1. Silencio: Come into God’s presence. Quietly prepare your heart to meet with and hear from Him.  Slow down, relax, release the noisy thoughts that crowd your mind over to him.

  2. Lectio: Read the scripture above slowly and out loud, let words resonate with you. Be aware of words that stick out to you. When a word or phrase grabs your attention, stop reading. Sit with it. Open your hearts to what God is saying to you. Underline the phrase, make notes of what you’re hearing. Don’t analyze it or judge it. Listen and wait.

  3. Meditatio: Meditate. Read the Scripture a second time out loud. Savor the words. Listen for any invitation that God is extending to you in this word. Reflect on the importance of the words that light up to you.

  4. Oratio: Respond, pray. Read the Scripture a third time. Now is the moment to enter into a personal conversation with God. There is no right or wrong way to do this. The important thing is to respond truthfully and authentically. What feelings has the text brought about in you? Talk about where you are feeling resistant or want to push back, and of where you feel invited into a deeper way of being with God.

  5. Contemplatio: Contemplate, rest and wait in the presence of God. Allow some time for the word to sink deeply into your soul. Yield and surrender yourself to God. Before you leave, you might consider a reminder that can help you dwell on this word throughout the day.

Family Moments
Read Philippians 4:4-5 together. Talk together about how joy is a gift that God gives us and how Christmas is a wonderful time to share that gift with others! Brainstorm together as a family some different ways that you can share that joy with others around you. Once you have made a list, pick one of them to do as a family together.