Acronyms, and the JOY of Advent

Today is the third Sunday in Advent, and during the service, we light the third of four candles on our Advent candle stand. On the first and second Sundays in Advent, the candles of hope and peace were lit. The third candle we light today is the candle of joy.

When I reflected on this word ‘joy’, I anticipated I would be thinking of things, well, joyful! However, it was acronyms! That’s right, acronyms, immediately came to mind.

The Macquarie dictionary defines an acronym as “a word formed from the initial letters of other words”. An example of this is the acronym ‘ANZAC,’ which you dear reader has correctly answered, stands for ‘Australian and New Zealand Army Corps,’ another, if you’re a ‘gamer’ that is, a player of video games, the acronym ‘gg’ apparently stands for ‘good game.’ So, on this third Sunday in Advent as the candle of joy is lit, what could the acronym, ‘JOY,’ stand for?

How’s this one – JESUS, OTHERS, YOU.

The letter ‘J’ is the reminder there is no greater joy we bring to Jesus’ heart when we love God and love our neighbour. The letter ‘O’ tells us, there is joy in hearts of others when they know they are loved and appreciated. You only need to remember when you were the center of people’s attention and their giving during your time of need. I’m sure you would have experienced joy on many levels. And finally, ‘Y’ is a reminder that God loves you. An outcome of receiving God’s love is the desire to love God and others more.

A joyous response to the overwhelming love of God led the author to pen the following words to a famous hymn:

Joy to the world!
The Lord is come;
let earth receive its king;
let every heart prepare him room,
and heaven nature sing,
and heaven nature sing,
and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

(Isaac Watts 1674-1748. Lyrics from Together in Song, 268)

Advent is a season of waiting: waiting for the hope, peace, joy, and love of God to break into our lives anew through the story of the birth of Jesus, and through acts of hope, peace, joy, and love.

Peace, grace and JOY to you on our Advent journey.