Joy! Joy! Joy! Joy!

Written by Jack Shepherd

In a lonely and spiritually dry time in my life, I was catching up with a friend and he gave me some surprising and insightful advice. It was simply words from a familiar song.

“Don’t forget – you’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in your heart.”

This reminded me of God’s faithfulness – he is the same every day, no matter what our circumstances are – and that through faith in Jesus he has placed by the Holy Spirit a joy in our hearts that is deeper than any emotions and is unshakeable. To those chosen by God to be disciples of Jesus and scattered across what is now Turkey, the Apostle Peter wrote in his first letter “even though you do not see him [Jesus] now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy”.

Over the next few years, as I encountered anxiety and OCD, I learnt that the same can be said about peace. Now, as a missional priest in the Diocese of Liverpool, I have the opportunity to be involved in leading people to tell other people the story of God’s love and to form new communities or congregations of people who have found, or are beginning to find, joy in Jesus.

The angels brought good news of great joy for us, and for the whole world – Jesus, the Saviour, the Christ, and the Lord, was born. Father, please remind us of the glorious joy you have already placed in our hearts.

Jack Shepherd is a Missional Priest in the Parish of Up Holland and Dalton

This post is part of an advent series. Twenty-Four diverse voices have been invited to share some thoughts on one of four themes (Hope, Peace, Joy and Love) each day during the season of Advent. Each contributor has been given just one theme and no further parameters – they may write as much or as little in the style of their own choosing.

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