RECAP: JOY SPRINGS FORTH based on Luke 1:36-55
The second candle of Advent is the candle of Joy. Too often, we confuse joy with happiness. Happiness is an emotion rooted in a current event. Joy, however, in the Hebrew mindset, is a choice to remain in a state of calm, rest, and delight in the Lord. It is a declaration to remain in this place no matter what circumstance we face in life. Due to circumstances, happiness can come and go. Joy endures no matter what!
Unfortunately, today, joy is in short supply in our world. To describe our current mood as a nation, one can borrow the words of Gimli in his grim assessment of Edoras in the book The Two Towers, “you find more cheer in a graveyard.” But how can we move beyond the death of despair and hopelessness and recapture joy? We can change our focus, just like Elizabeth and Mary did. When these two pregnant ladies came together, they were so filled with joy because of what God had done. What can we choose to focus on to bring joy?
- Being in the presence of God (1:39-44). God is not distant, viewing humanity as simply sport or entertainment, as was the popular belief in the early first century. Rather, God desires to be present among humanity, to be known, and to have a relationship! We have value in God’s eyes! Just as God saw both Mary and Elizabeth with his presence, so too we can experience and daily walk in the presence of God. In his presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11), and his joy is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Further when God has a relationship with us, we can be filled with the Spirit, his very presence living in us and guiding our lives!
- Believing the Word of the Lord (1:45). Mary was able to deliver Jesus because she believed the Word of the Lord. Good things happen when we believe that God’s Word never fails and he always fulfills his promises. Even when it seems like everything is against us and our world is crashing down around our feet, we can anchor our hope in God, for He will never fail. We can choose to anchor our joy in things and people, but they will always come and go. Or we can choose to anchor our joy in God’s unchanging Word and discover true joy. We need to believe, for it is our declaration of trust that God is who He says He is!
- Trust in God’s care for us (1:46-49). Mary and Elizabeth both understood God’s care. He saw Elizabeth in her barrenness and answered her prayer with John. God saw Mary’s tender heart and willingness to be used by God and granted her the opportunity to bear the Savior of the world. God is our Savior. He is the Mighty and Holy One. No one escapes his sight, no matter how difficult life is!
- God’s mercy and grace (1:50). One reason people lose happiness so easily is the focus is often on the material and the here and now. However, joy recognizes we have what we have by God’s mercy and grace. God gives us what we don’t deserve. Because of Christ, our future can change; we can see a new day!
- God works on our behalf (1:51-55). Nothing is impossible with God (1:51). Everyone will answer to him. God will address the injustice we might see in our world. He will humble those who exalt themselves and lift up the humble. He will sustain our life and give us all that we need. And in seasons of trouble, he will be our ever-present help.
Elizabeth and Mary chose joy. They lived in joy because they focused on these things. We can choose joy too!
Questions for Reflection
1) Do you remember a time when you felt the presence of God? How was that time different?
2) What promise of Scripture do you cling to the most in seasons of struggle? Why does that verse/promise resonate?
3) What promise do you struggle to believe the most? Why?
4) Do you trust God? Why or why not?
5) Which one is hardest for you to accept–trusting God’s care, God’s mercy and grace, or God’s working on our behalf? Why?
This Sunday is the third Sunday of Advent, and we will light the candle of Love. Pastor Ryan will preach the sermon “Love Takes Action,” based on Matthew 1:18-25. What is the true power of love? How did love change the world? Come or tune in on Sunday to find out.
Daily Bible Readings for December 12 – 18
December 12: John 15:1-15 What does this passage teach us about joy?
December 13: Philippians 4:4-9 What does this passage teach us about joy?
December 14: Philippians 2:1-11 What does this passage teach us about joy?
December 15: Hebrews 12:1-3 What does this passage teach us about joy?
December 16: Isaiah 35:1-10 What does this passage teach us about joy?
December 17: John 3:16-17 What does this passage teach us about love?
December 18: 1 Corinthians 13 What does this passage teach us about love?
This Week’s Events:
Sunday, December 17–Christmas Caroling after church; soup/sandwich carry-in
Thursday, December 21–Leadership Team Meeting, 7 pm
Thursday, December 21–Leadership Reorganization Meeting, 7:30 pm
Sunday, December 24–Christmas Eve @ 11 pm
If you are a newer attendee at Beaver Creek, please call the office with your birthday or leave a note in the offering plate. We don’t want to miss anyone.
Beaver Creek has updated its social media page. Please follow and share so many people can see what is happening at Beaver Creek! You can find the pages as follows:
Advent Music Minutes & InstaChoir
Reminder to all children and youth: Please meet downstairs at 9:45 to prepare for an advent song, “Go Tell it On the Mountain,” that will be sung during worship on December 17 w/ the InstaChoir.
Beaver Creek will go caroling on Sunday, December 17. We will meet right after church. Please bring a soup or sandwich tray to share. Then, we will carol to our friends!
Misti has placed a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board to assist with the backpacks. If you are willing to help, please sign up this week!
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
We are in need of both worship leaders and children’s storytellers. Contact Alice Over, Phyllis Simmons (worship leading), or Joscelin Cooper (children’s story) if you want to serve.
CHILDREN’S CHURCH & NURSERY
Children’s Church WILL meet this Sunday, December 17.
The Christian Education Team is looking for six to eight volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School and church hours. There will be a signup sheet in the back. If you would be willing to volunteer to allow our families to participate in worship, please let one of the members of Christian Education know (Theresa Eckard, Scott McAvoy, Becky Whitmore), or sign up on the signup sheet!
Sight & Sound Interest
The Fidelis class is looking at sponsoring a church-wide trip to Sight & Sound in 2024. But before the class can investigate bus prices and total cost, we want to gauge the genuine interest in the church. We have had several expressions of interest and are trying to find the best package for us as a church body. If you want to be considered for this one-day event next year, please get in touch with the office or inform Pastor Ryan in the next few weeks.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe to the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Place in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller & Carolyn Wine
Keep Evy Kaye’s friend Mary Beth in your prayers as she is wrestling with cancer.
Eddie Baker (health)
Mary Batterman (health)
Sandy Bennington (health)
Joe Berry (health)
Terri Burkholder (health)
Norma Cunningham (recovery)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Bob Hess (health)
Christy Lazer (emergency surgery)
Ruth Luce (health)
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Norlen Miller (hospital)
Mary G Miller (health)
Mary M Miller (health)
Savannah Miller (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Norma Suter (recovery)
Kenny Wheelbarger (recovery)
Whitmore family (house)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Cindy Wittig (health)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church