Advent 3- Joy


Message Title: Advent 3- Joy “Gaudete Sunday”
O Come Emmanuel
Season: ADVENT
Main Text: all
Scripture Reading: All
RCL Scripture: Isaiah 35:1-10; Psalm 146:5-10; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11
Focus:  God’s promises are good for humanity and creation.
To embrace joy this season through the little things.
Other Notes:


The desert and the dry land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom like the crocus. 2 They will burst into bloom, and rejoice with joy and singing. They will receive the glory of Lebanon, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the Lord’s glory, the splendor of our God. 3 Strengthen the weak hands, and support the unsteady knees. 4 Say to those who are panicking: “Be strong! Don’t fear! Here’s your God, coming with vengeance; with divine retribution God will come to save you.” 5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be cleared. 6 Then the lame will leap like the deer, and the tongue of the speechless will sing. Waters will spring up in the desert, and streams in the wilderness. 7 The burning sand will become a pool, and the thirsty ground, fountains of water. The jackals’ habitat, a pasture; grass will become reeds and rushes. 8 A highway will be there. It will be called The Holy Way. The unclean won’t travel on it, but it will be for those walking on that way. Even fools won’t get lost on it; 9 no lion will be there, and no predator will go up on it. None of these will be there; only the redeemed will walk on it. 10 The Lord’s ransomed ones will return and enter Zion with singing, with everlasting joy upon their heads. Happiness and joy will overwhelm them; grief and groaning will flee away.


5 The person whose help is the God of Jacob— the person whose hope rests on the Lord their God—is truly happy! 6 God: the maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, God: who is faithful forever, 7 who gives justice to people who are oppressed, who gives bread to people who are starving! The Lord: who frees prisoners. 8 The Lord: who makes the blind see. The Lord: who straightens up those who are bent low. The Lord: who loves the righteous. 9 The Lord: who protects immigrants, who helps orphans and widows, but who makes the way of the wicked twist and turn! 10 The Lord will rule forever! Zion, your God will rule from one generation to the next! Praise the Lord! 


7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, you must be patient as you wait for the coming of the Lord. Consider the farmer who waits patiently for the coming of rain in the fall and spring, looking forward to the precious fruit of the earth. 8 You also must wait patiently, strengthening your resolve, because the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Don’t complain about each other, brothers and sisters, so that you won’t be judged. Look! The judge is standing at the door! 10 Brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord as an example of patient resolve and steadfastness. 


2 Now when John heard in prison about the things the Christ was doing, he sent word by his disciples to Jesus, asking, 3 “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” 4 Jesus responded, “Go, report to John what you hear and see. 5 Those who were blind are able to see. Those who were crippled are walking. People with skin diseases are cleansed. Those who were deaf now hear. Those who were dead are raised up. The poor have good news proclaimed to them. 6 Happy are those who don’t stumble and fall because of me.” 7 When John’s disciples had gone, Jesus spoke to the crowds about John: “What did you go out to the wilderness to see? A stalk blowing in the wind? 8 What did you go out to see? A man dressed up in refined clothes? Look, those who wear refined clothes are in royal palaces. 9 What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 He is the one of whom it is written: Look, I’m sending my messenger before you, who will prepare your way before you. 11 “I assure you that no one who has ever been born is greater than John the Baptist. Yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.


  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGMENT: Do you have a favorite American Girl doll?
    1. Original 6 – I had Josephina.
  2. Kirsten was a Swedish immigrant
    1. Saint Lucia?- Swedish tradition “Light in the Dark”
    1. “Lucia Day – also called Saint Lucy’s day – can be traced back to the 4th century. A Christian feast day, it commemorates the martyr Lucia of Syracuse, who, as legend has it, brought food to Christians hiding in Roman catacombs, lighting her way with a candlelit wreath on her head.

The 13 December was the historic Julian calendar’s shortest day, and according to Swedish folklore, the long night was dangerous, with dark spirits out in force. Staying awake was paramount, and eating helped – another connection to the small feast associated with today’s Lucia celebration. Lucia made her first recorded appearance in a Swedish rural home in 1764, but the custom really established itself in the 1900s.”[1]

  • Aside: Dear America books would be the next step up for your reader who has graduated past the American Girl books.

TRANSITION:  St. Lucia is celebrated because of her devotion to Christ’s people. Her actions point to Christ as does the season of advent. She was celebrated for bringing food, our text today points to the things we will receive in Christ.

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 35:1-10; Psalm 146:5-10; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11


  1. Isaiah 35:1-10 – Promise
    1. Timing: 1st Isaiah, just before Babylon attacks!
    1. Like last week, we see promises of both nature and humanity flourishing under God’s design
      1. The wounded are healed and disabled are no longer held back by limitations
      1. The earth is healed
      1. The vulnerable are safe and provided for
  2. Psalm 146:5-10 – Promise
    1. One of the last 5 psalms are praising God with repetitive “Hallelujahs”
    1. This God heals, restores, liberates, adopts, protects
    1. This is a God worthy of praise
  3. James 5:7-10 – Wait
    1. James writes a letter to Jesus’ followers (not a specific church)
    1. This letter is a message of encouragement to Christians to stay faithful to Jesus no matter the circumstance.
    1. This section calls for remaining faithful while patiently waiting— probably one of the hardest things a Christian is asked to do “wait.”
  4. Matthew 11:2-11 – Validate (look for ways God has already shown up)
    1. Part 2 of John the Baptist- flash forward just a little way from the reading last week.
    1. Jesus’ ministry has started and John has already been arrested.
      1. John’s disciples ask if Jesus is the one John’s been proclaiming about-
        1. Instead of giving a simple answer, Jesus quotes Isaiah – you tell me, I’m doing the work!
      1. Jesus affirms John’s ministry and fulfillment of prophecies.

INTERPRETATION: God is not slow in keeping promises 2 Peter 3:9

  1. This week I resonate strongly with our passages in Isaiah and Psalms. I feel the waiting and am excited about the promises.
    1. On the other side of Easter, waiting on Christ to return is HARD—the second Advent is HARD.
    1. James tells us to patiently remain faithful.

APPLICATION: To embrace joy this season through the little things.

  1. It is easy to get lost in the consumerism of the holidays and miss the reason for the season.
    1. But I don’t think that means you can’t exchange presents on Christmas. – My dad’s dad used to say “It’s not your birthday, it’s baby Jesus’ birthday.”
    1. Instead of doing a total ban on Christmas traditions in order to make space for “the reason for the season,” let’s weave Jesus into each joyful thing.
      1. Bless others with baking cookies
      1. Give gifts because Jesus gave us the greatest gift of all
      1. Care for the vulnerable through donating to charities, volunteering, or inviting people into your home.
    1. Waiting vs. Instant gratification
      1. Doubt isn’t a sin but a tool to look again
        1. Search your story, search stories of others (God Shows up)
      1. Privilege to wait
        1. Experience wonder
    1. Use the joy of the season to encourage you to remain faithful all year long.
      1. Joy of every day things
      1. Joy of hope, healing, belonging, & safety
      1. Train yourselves to look for God showing up in the little things
  2. Gaudete Sunday
    1. Rejoice in the Lord Ps 85
    1. Nearness of the coming of Jesus




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