One of the hymns that I like to sing throughout the Christian year is “Joy to the World.” Although it is frequently sung during the Christmas season, from my perspective, it is also a wonderful Advent hymn and a hymn for all seasons.
As pilgrim disciples, we have joy because Jesus came into the world as an expression of God’s grace and love. The hymn, “Joy to the World,” invites us to receive our King. The hymn (The United Methodist Hymnal, #246) says, “let every heart prepare him room.” In other words, we need to make room for Jesus in this Advent season. From a practical point of view, it is usually necessary to get rid of something in order to make room for something else. For example, when we purchase new furniture for a room, we move the old furniture so that there will be sufficient space for the new furniture.
There are times when one’s life gets clogged with distractions that separate us from God’s love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus, the Son of God, was given to us as a gift. Jesus, therefore, is our most precious gift. Jesus is the gift of Love.
After we say yes to Jesus, we too often “let sins and sorrows grow” and “thorns infest the ground.” This occurrence impedes the blossoming of God’s love in one’s life.
In this Advent season, what will you do with the Gift of Love? The Apostle Paul reminds us that without love we are nothing (I Corinthians 13). Has your love matured or is it stymied in its growth and development?
Paul provides us with a dynamic description of love. “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (I Cor. 13:4-7).
This kind of love never ends. It is dynamic, not static. Do you have room in your heart for this kind of dynamic and mature love? Are you prepared to dump the things that get in the way of God’s love?
This Advent season is a good time to get started in making some fresh room for Jesus and God’s love.