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For many of us, the third Sunday of Advent is when the panic sets in: Will the Amazon packages arrive on time? How can the tree be so crooked? Why do the cookies keep burning? How can Christmas be right around the corner?

But this third Sunday is intended to be a day of joy, rooted in the knowledge that our journey to the manger leads us to a priceless treasure. Though Advent is meant to be a season of reflection and preparation, this Sunday reminds us of the power of that journey to change us, to turn our hearts and minds from the cares of the world and focus them on the coming of the Christ Child.

If we are anxious, we are focused on the wrong things. If we are angry, we misunderstand His will. If we are stubborn, we forget His desire. Our Advent journey, our entire journey through life, is a trek toward paradise. The road may wind, it may be filled with potholes, it may even take us to the precipice, but if we are faithful, it leads us home.

If we are committed to the journey to the manger, we will rejoice in every step – even the ones that challenge us. If we are dedicated to following the Star, we will find joy in every moment – even the ones that surprise us. If we have truly given our hearts to Jesus, we will never cease to praise His Name – even when He asks more of us than we think is possible.

All things are possible with Him. Prophesies are fulfilled, a Savior is born, grace is given. How can we do anything but rejoice in the intricacy of His plan, in the intensity of His presence, in the immensity of His love?

Let us make joy. Let us celebrate this journey we take together, one that brings us closer to the Lord and to each other. May our joy shine as mightily as the Star of Bethlehem, and may we lead others to the manger through our words and actions.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:4-6