The Third Sunday of Advent is the Sunday of Joy. Joy is one of those tricky words because it has perfectly acceptable casual uses but also more technical uses. Happiness and joy are often considered synonyms and used as such with no difficulty. However, there is a deeper meaning to “joy” that connects us to more than our current circumstances. Happiness is our reaction to what is going on with and/or around us. Things happen and we are happy because of these things.
Joy, in the more technical sense, on the other hand is independent of our circumstances. We can be joyful in the middle of grief and sadness but it is very difficult to be happy and sad at the same time. Why? Joy comes from beyond us. Joy is a gift from God.
I hope you find value in the distinction I am making in this sermon and I would be happy to hear whatever you think.