A Confession – Longing for Joy.

I wish I had a glorious word on joy. Instead I have a confession.

My joy has been complete.

I have sung in joy for what the Lord has done.

I will gather with others and do this today. I will sing songs of our salvation and His promise to be with us even now, and in that moment, I will know the joy of my salvation.

But this Advent, day to day, joy has weighed heavy before me.

Each night we sing our Advent family song, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

This song has become my longing for joy. The longing for God to do what He promised to do, to be who He is.

My heavy heart expects Him to come. My spirit tempted to be downcast reaches for His hand.

My joy will be complete again.

Until then, I fix my eyes on the candles lit in the darkness, because light shines in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it.

For the joy before me, I endure a broken and contrite heart in the face of my subtle sins longing for a new level of glory – new eyes to see, new ears to hear, new heart to know.

I am weary, but joy is just before me in freedom He alone can give.

This Advent joy invites me to remember that the joy of the Lord is not a fleeting moment, but a sound reality, whether I feel it or not.

Joy invites me to the other side.

This Advent I hold fast to the joy that seems far from me. It’s right here waiting to spring forth when His victory comes.

I will sing the Christmas songs. I will rejoice in the fullness of joy.

But today, this third Sunday in Advent, joy is secure because He is, I am not alone, and faith buoys me while I wait for His joy to be complete again, the kind of joy you shout about.

Cheap joy with a ready smile is tempting. It looks good, but it’s not real.

I’ll take this Advent joy, the waiting-for-it-kind-of-joy, as I seek His face and hold His hand, because joy comes on the other side. He will get me through.

Get the guitar and keyboard ready. Singing and dancing will come. That’s the promise of Advent. We wait. He will come and He will fill us with joy worth waiting for.


  1. It’s super hard, the seasons that feel robbed, less, incomplete because they lack joy. I forgot that there’s a waiting in that. That the lack doesn’t reflect a failing. That it’s just the waiting, and that’s okay. That’s advent, too. Not just waiting with barely restrained anticipation. Waiting in the groaning, as well.
    Oh come, Emmanuel. Death’s dark shadows put to flight. And all God’s people say, rejoice! Rejoice! We know you came, we know you are here, we know you are coming. Emmanuel. Come to us, oh Israel.


    • Yes! It’s not the kind of waiting anyone wants, but it is a tremendous part of our journey. Joy is born from waiting. Funny how we are tempted to wonder “What’s wrong with me?” when we aren’t filled with joy, but see in Scripture how much more time is spent waiting than rejoicing. Glad we can sing together while we wait!


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