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Advent Week 3: Joy in All Things

Updated: May 4, 2021

Advent Week 3

Joy in All Things

Artur Panzo

According to my parents, I have been happy since birth, always smiling and lighting up the room for others. Growing up, I discovered that I made friends easily, and I was able to get along with almost everyone.

I remember one day in College, as I went to work for one of the work studies jobs that I had, my supervisor called me in and wanted to ask me a question. She asked, “Artur, why are you always happy? What brings you joy?” It was followed with the statement, “I always see you smiling no matter how busy or tired you are with school. You truly brighten my day with your smile. Keep smiling.” I was fascinated with that statement and thought to myself, “If she only knew all the struggles that I have faced, and I am still going through.”

Which brings me to today. When I was first asked to write this blog about joy, I accepted immediately and then struggled with what to write. I sat on it for a long time. We are living in a world that is so broken and polarized that it feels so hard to have joy. In our country today, we see a divided nation that is faced with poverty, and racial and political tensions, in addition to the pandemic. So, I ask myself, where is the joy in all of this? Where is the joy in my own life? How can there be joy in a world that is so broken?

There is a song that I learned in my middle school years when I first came to America about joy. I’m sure that you have learned this at your Sunday school as well and can remember it with your eyes closed, and it goes like this:

I got the joy, joy, joy, joy,

Down in my heart (Where?)

Down in my heart (Where?)

Down in my heart

I got the joy, joy, joy, joy

Down in my heart (Where?)

Down in my heart to stay

Now that I’ve got that song stuck in your head too, you will probably be singing this for the rest of the week (you are welcome!). You are probably asking, “Why Artur?” This song is a reminder that our true joy can only come from Christ Jesus. Nothing is more important than rejoicing in the Lord. Because only He can fill our hearts with joy.

The Bible calls us to be joyful in everything that we do. Even when things are not going the way that we want or when the world is chaotic; the Bible commands us to be joyful. Philippians 4:4 tells us to always rejoice in the Lord. James 1:2 states, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” This passage has touched my heart, especially in the last few months. It speaks to our current times.

So, going back to the question asked by my previous college supervisor. How can I have so much joy? The answer that I gave to her was, “I’m joyful because of what God has done for me in my life. He saved me from my sin and not only that, He has taken me from Africa and brought me to this country, and He has given me the opportunity to attend one of the most prestigious universities in the world. For that, I’m joyful.” Yes, things may not be as I would like for them to be. However, I’m reminded of the goodness and mercy of God when I look back on what He has previously done in my life.

As we approach Christmas time, I want to speak about the joy that we receive from Jesus Christ, who is the giver of all joy. In Him, we are able to find peace and joy when schools are closed and kids have to be home schooled (Lord have mercy). We can find peace and joy when we face injustice or when we are locked down because of COVID. We find joy in Him because, He was the greatest gift given to us, and we know that He will make all things new when His Kingdom is revealed. Jesus commands us in John 16:24 to ask Him for joy stating, “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember the goodness that Christ has done for us on the cross. Let us remember that in Him, and only Him, we can find true joy. This world will always have troubles and tribulations. But in Him, we can find our joy and the strength to carry through. May the lyrics of this song remind us that our Joy is in Him:

Joy to the world, the Lord is come Let earth receive her King Let every heart prepare Him room And Heaven and nature sing And Heaven and nature sing And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing

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