We are in the season known traditionally as Advent, the timeframe in advance of the birth of Jesus at whose coming God promised joy to the world. Yet in thinking about the world there doesn’t seem to be much joy going around these days: the recent shootings in California, the events in Paris, the continual threat of this terrorist group ISIL, instead of a joyous celebration everyone seemingly is ramping up for some major conflict; refugees are flooding over borders; people feel threatened at home, with no real solutions being offered. The situation for the people of the Bible was not much different both before and after Jesus’ entry into the world. Much of it was written in the midst of some threat to God’s people, political game playing, and therefore much dis-ease. Yet as we discovered in this season of Advent, God offers hope in the midst of all this, and that hope is fulfilled in the Word of God, Jesus, who is the bearer of our joy, and people can engage that through faith in Him. This week we see that when we do this we receive the capacity to truly experience Joy.