Surrender for Joy

By Roy Stetler
December 17, 2023

Today as we light the rose-colored Advent candle, we celebrate joy.

To Isaiah, joy is good news for the oppressed, liberty for captives, and comfort for the grieving.  He anticipates gladness and praise replacing weariness and despair.  Joy is the weak finding strength.  Joy is a hand outstretched.

Before Jesus’ ministry, John the Baptist claims to be just a voice crying in the wilderness, preparing the way of the Lord.  He does not pretend, what he is not.  John points toward another who will bring something wonderfully new.

Both Isaiah and John surrender to the justice and mercy of God.  Surrender takes effort.  Whether in friendship, marriage, or our walk with God, surrender is demanding; yet the reward is joy.

This final week before we celebrate Jesus’ birth, we can practice surrender to God in silent prayer.  In such prayer we give ourselves over to God without insisting on our own agenda.

Whether this week is busy or unsettlingly lonesome, we can prepare for the festival of Christ’s birth by offering ourselves in the presence of the One who holds all.

Surrender is the path to joy.  Simply, in stillness we can set aside our distractions and “important” thoughts.  But we must be very patient.  The mind is dedicatedly persistent.  Joy awaits.