by Kristin Huffman, Frontier Fellowship Associate Director
My watch has a reminder that pops up during the day, telling me to breathe. For one minute I am to pay attention to my breathing, to intentionally take long, slow breaths…in and out. One minute. Then it tells me “good job” and shows my heartbeats per minute. Some people dislike this watch function and turn it off, but I like it because it stops me in my tracks, helps me be still and listen for God’s voice in the middle of life. When I stop, even for a minute, I often sense God’s presence and love and grace and joy.
Advent is like that. It has the potential to stop and turn us toward Jesus. Some years I ignore the invitation of Advent and rush around making 33 batches of peanut brittle, or finding the perfect gifts or being nice to family or—you get the idea. But I miss the blessing God might have for me in the quiet and stillness. I miss the joy that can only come from Him.
Joy is funny. It’s not happiness exactly but something deeper, tougher, richer and more lasting. As a society, we spend tons of time, money and energy chasing happiness to no real success. Although it can be a wonderful feeling, it’s usually situational, fleeting and elusive. But we continue to wait for it.
Joy, on the other hand, is that abiding sense of God’s presence, gratitude, peace, happiness, trust and grace all wrapped up together. We can feel joy even in the worst of circumstances when we stop long enough to KNOW that God is God.
This fall, my community lived through Hurricane Harvey and the ensuing flood. The aftermath was serious, exhausting, scary and sad. In the midst of it, I was given the gift of a morning silent retreat. I wrote all my angst into my journal, offered it to God and then simply sat in His presence. I sensed Him rearranging things inside of me and there it was—a new sense of joy and peace and a deep rightness came seeping back into my soul.
The world is waiting for joy, but in reality, the Giver of joy is simply waiting for us to come to Him. May you breathe, listen, wait and let God fill you with joy this Advent season.
Follow along with our daily devotional series for the Advent season.