The third week of Advent is the week we light the pink candle on our Advent wreath, the Joy Candle.

third week of advent joy candle

We are surrounded by joy.

Though Advent is a penitential season, we’re surrounded by joy. As we journey through this season, we empty ourselves of the extra and unneeded and find ourselves open to be filled by and with Jesus himself.

Joy becomes more than just a happy feeling or a warm fuzzy. It becomes a destination and a commitment we make. As the Holy Spirit becomes a more comfortable companion to us, we find that joy is a place we share.

Joy does not equal happiness, but it takes time to realize that, to appreciate it for the gift it is. We have to learn to cooperate with God’s grace in our lives to be able to touch the joy that is as part of us as the air we breathe.

God loves us.

In the picture of the Son of God as a human being—a helpless little baby—we see proof of God’s love for each of us. God didn’t just stop by sending his Son as a baby who had to grow up  and struggle through life like the rest of us. He sent a Son who would heal us.

All of us are hurt in many different ways throughout our lives. We get hurt physically and we get hurt internally. After a while, all that pain can wear us down and make us ready to just stop trying.

It becomes easier and easier to forget that God loves us when we’re wrapped in our own pain. Advent offers us the chance to reach beyond ourselves, past our pain, towards a baby who can’t do anything himself, and yet who holds the promise of our salvation.

Discover joy by showing love.

When I forget myself and give to the people who need me—whether they need something that makes me feel like a hero or something as simple as a sippy cup—I’m showing love to Jesus. Those people in my home are where I have to start with my love.

The love I give the people in my daily life spreads joy throughout the world. The Joy Candle is lit as I wipe a table or prepare dinner, just as surely as it’s lit by those who are working in the trenches of soup kitchens and Calcutta.

Copyright 2013 Sarah Reinhard