Students sitting outside Bockman
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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her king;
let ev'ry heart prepare him room
and heav'n and nature sing,
and heav'n and nature sing,
and heav'n, and heav'n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let all their songs employ,
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sin and sorrow grow
nor thorns infest the ground;
he comes to make his blessings flow
far as the curse is found,
far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness
and wonders of his love,
and wonders of his love,
and wonders, wonders of his love.


The Third Sunday of Advent is known throughout the world as Guadete Sunday, or Joy Sunday. How appropriate to be praying this hymn on this day! In the midst of all of the darkness and despair around us, in our ongoing practice of compassion--of suffering ("passio" with "com")--it is essential to remember that joy is never only, or even ever, the opposite of sadness. Joy is not simple pleasure, happiness or glee. Joy is a word which conveys a deep throated "YES" to life, a thorough-going willingness to surrender to God's infinite love poured out into all of creation.
When we know love, we must of necessity also know suffering. To love is to risk, and in many ways endure loss. Joy and sorrow are intermingled, woven throughout the fabric of our relationships. The Incarnation reminds us that we truly can rest in God's promise to "make all blessings flow."

Source of all love, we thank you for drawing us into your joy. Keep us ever mindful of your blessings, and empower us to love fully and deeply. Amen.

Mary E. Hess
Professor of Educational Leadership at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.


This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.