There is a short answer and a long answer to the question posed in this post’s title. The short answer is, it is the third Sunday of Advent which is the Sunday of Joy.
The longer answer begins with a short answer and then an explanation. We are talking about joy again because we forget. Every so often I run across well meaning folks from other religious traditions, usually free church Protestants, who find the church year incomprehensible and repetitive. I get things like, “Why do you talk about the Trinity [or some other liturgical event], every year?”* The conversation tends to go something like this:
Me: Are you in a significant relationship?
Me: Do you tell them you love them?
Them: Of course!
Me: Why? They know that already, why do you have to talk about it?
Me: Do you celebrate anniversaries? You know, when you got together, first kiss, wedding, that sort of thing?
Them: Of course we do! What’s wrong with you?
Me: Why do you bother with something that is settled? It isn’t like you can learn anything by talking about something you already know about.
Them: You. Are. Crazy.
And unless they understand what I’m doing they walk away. I try to catch them and explain how the questions I am asking about their relationship are functionally identical to what they are asking about repetition in the church year. We come back to these themes and topics because it is critical that we understand them. We come back to them because very few of us are so stagnant that we are unable to learn something from one year to the next. We come back to them to explore the new, enriched understanding maturity and time give them.
It is very important that we understand the difference between happiness and biblical joy and I, for one, am very happy that there is a Sunday every year that “forces” me to revisit it.
It doesn’t happen all that often but I think the title of this blog post is actually better than the sermon title, so feel free to apply it to whichever sermon you listen to.
Knox Presbyterian What might joy look like? (to download, right click and select “Save Link As . . .”)
St. Mark’s Presbyterian What might joy look like? (to download, right click and select “Save Link As . . .”)
* We will leave for another time the “Why don’t you let the Holy Spirit tell you what to preach?” question.