December 24, 2018
Weekly Reflection – Joy
Experiencing Joy! I have been hearing a lot in recent weeks about the anticipatory joy associated with what much of the Christian world celebrates as the season of Advent. The New Testament relates how Elizabeth experienced the joy of learning that she would bear a child in her old age.
Mary experienced joy at being told she would bear one who would be called the Messiah. In the recent seasons of Advent and Christmas, we hear the joyful refrains of Joy To the World and The Hallelujah Chorus.
Yesterday I heard about another form of joy, which was termed vocational joy. What do we mean by this term, vocation? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines vocation as a summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action. It especially applies to the work or life of a person’s calling and that the root word for vocation actually means “to call,” I am told.
Have you ever experienced such a call, a time you could almost literally feel the presence of God speaking to you about a particular pathway to take in your life, a moment when you knew nothing would ever be the same again?
Perhaps it was the day you became engaged to be married or the moment you realized you were pregnant and would, like Elizabeth, soon be responsible for a special child. Perhaps it was the joy of experiencing a call to a particular form of ministry.
More fundamentally, it may have been the moment you heard God calling through the preaching of Jesus. I suspect we all have had such experiences and the joy that comes with responding to them. Perhaps we could call them times of vocational joy.
The Apostle Paul dramatically experienced such a moment on the road to Damascus. Many of us will never hear such a dramatic call as Paul did. However, a call to humbly care for the sick, to help the poor or to walk with the forgotten can be just as dramatic.
Most of the readers of this Reflection are students of NationsUniversity. They are working toward higher education in the field of religious studies. Perhaps they know what they will do once the degree has been granted. However, I suspect that most of us have no idea how God is going to use us in the future.
Regardless, we can live today with the joy of faithful anticipation that God will indeed use us (i.e., call us) in ways that are unique and particularly suited to us. And when he calls, our future will never be the same again.
So as we move into the New Year of 2019, I encourage us to gaze into the future with the joy of faithful anticipation. May we keep our eyes and ears open to learning what God has in store for us in the coming year, in the future and indeed forever.
Blessings and peace,
Read the reflection on, Wisdom