The apostle Paul instructs the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord. This kind of rejoicing is really the angels’ song of gladness. Paul exhorts his friends who share in the work of spreading the gospel to rejoice in the Lord always. Yes, they face many challenges and tribulations as followers of Christ, and certainly Paul knows this. But they are to continue to rejoice.

Being able to rejoice regardless of our circumstances is one good example of what life in Christ means. Whatever situation we face—good or bad—we are able to rejoice in the Lord because, as the Bible tells us, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10).

This Advent season brings celebration and happiness for many, but many others experience great sadness. Whether one is grieving the death of a loved one, experiencing loneliness, dealing with serious illness, facing financial difficulties, or even spending the season isolated in prison, it is still possible to rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ was sent to the world for our sake and for the sake of all people. That is plenty of reason to rejoice, regardless of our circumstances! He is the source of our strength and the solution to any troubles we may face. When we rejoice in the Lord, it is for both our own sake and for the sake of others. Those who look at our lives and see our joy—despite our challenges—may be inspired also to follow Jesus Christ, who is the source of our joy. We can feel confident, too, that our rejoicing in the Lord is also for Christ’s sake because we know that he is always pleased when we honor him!

Dear Lord, source of my joy, help me to rejoice in you always because you are the answer to all the challenges of my life. Strengthen my faith and my trust in you each day. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 3:7-18

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Lectionary Week
December 6–12, 2021
Scripture Overview

Reviewing the scripture passages for this week, the hymn title “Rejoice, Give Thanks and Sing” might come to mind. The writers of this week’s texts advise us to do all these things. At this time of year, these responses often seem to come naturally for many of us. The prophet Zephaniah exhorts his audience to sing aloud and rejoice. The prophet Isaiah calls on the people of Judah to “give thanks to the Lord.” In the letter to the Philippians, Paul advises his audience to “rejoice in the Lord always.” The tone of the Luke passage for this week is more somber; through the words of John the Baptist, Luke challenges his audience to maintain right relationships with God and humanity. Taken together, these passages provide a number of life lessons.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Zephaniah 3:14-20. Recall a time when you have experienced joy in the midst of trouble. Give thanks to God for your joy.
Read Isaiah 12:2-6. How does your trust in God enable you to overcome fear?
Read Philippians 4:4-7. Are you able to release your worries to God when you pray, or do you tend to hold on to the worry even after you have prayed about it?
Read Luke 3:7-18. Where in your life are you being nudged to do the right thing? How will you respond?

Respond by posting a prayer.