Wednesday in the Third Week of Advent, Year B
16 December 2020


Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5: 16 – 24 

Scripture:  “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you…” (1 Thessalonians 5: 16 -18)

Reflection: The word ‘Rejoice’ is sprinkled throughout the readings for Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday in Advent.  The   prophet Isaiah proclaimed that God had sent him to bring the good news to the poor and that he rejoiced heartily in the Lord for, “in my God is the joy of my soul”. And, here, the Apostle Paul, in his first letter to the Thessalonians, says, “Rejoice always”, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances…”, and we note that he uses the imperative form of the verbs. These words are familiar and easily remembered, but perhaps not so easily adhered to. We know they are what we should be doing, but how clearly, faithfully and consistently are we following them? Let us see.

Rejoice always. That’s a difficult thing to do given we’re currently living through a global pandemic. Life is nothing like we knew it in 2019. Lives are being lost to the deadly corona virus and many of us are not able to physically interact with our loved ones. People are losing jobs every day and mentally, many of us are not managing well. How do we rejoice in the midst of trying times? Many hearts are aching but we must not let despair defeat us. Staying close to God is a sure way to receive comfort to make it through and, as we were reminded yesterday, though we sow in tears, we reap with shouts of joy. (Psalm 126:5)

Pray without ceasing. Again, while going through trying times, it’s easy to become consumed and worry about what will happen tomorrow. The uncertainty is enough to send us into a frenzy or, for some, depression. But, we know that the Lord hears our prayers and asks that we lay our burdens at His feet. As hard as it is, we must. He hears. He answers. 

Give thanks in all circumstances. Many of us right now are wondering what it is we have to be thankful for. People are dying and the world is on the brink of a financial crisis. What will we eat, what will happen when our stores run out and there’s no nest egg to pull from? The Lord Himself said in Matthew 6, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink…”. If we really believe that He is in control and His plan is perfect, we must trust that He will take care of us.

So, in this season of Advent, while we await the Second Coming of Christ, we don’t have to give in to despair because God has given us a joy that no one can take away. In this dark world, we know that no matter what, we can and will experience light and that while we wait, He will continue to give us joy that helps us to rejoice always in our afflictions and struggles, to remain constant in prayer and, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, give thanks for the Lord our God being there with us.

Meditation: Let us continue to rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances, as Paul reminds us.

Prayer: Thank You Lord, that our joy is found in You, that our souls thirst and long for You and that, through rejoicing, praying and giving thanks, we remain connected to You.  Amen.

St. Jude’s Church
Stony Hill

Daily Reflections for Advent and Christmas 2020
by The St. Jude’s Writers