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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Advent: Joy

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12 NLT

The third week of Advent celebrates JOY. 

Do you think that there is a difference between happiness and joy? Happiness is what we feel when something good happens to us or we have something we want.

Joy is a little bit different. Joy lives deeper in our hearts than happiness. It's a feeling that doesn't depend on all the right things happening. Joy understands that, no matter what, God is good all the time and that God loves us all the time.

Did you know that you can grow joy in your heart? Imagine that you plant a little joy seed in your heart. Instead of water and sunshine, this seed needs you to practice thankfulness and to give love. 

Think about the things for which you are grateful. Imagine each thing you are grateful for like a drop of water that nourishes your joy plant. 

Now think about something loving that you can do for someone else, maybe your dad or mom, or brother or sister, or a friend or a teacher. Imagine that your loving acts toward others are like the warmth of the sun that causes your joy plant to bloom.

Gratitude and loving others help us become more joy-filled people. This is one of the gifts that Jesus brought when He came as a little baby.

This week's pose is called Happy Baby. But, let's call it Joyful Baby instead, ok?

 Lie on your back. Feel how long your spine is! Bring your knees into your chest. Take each hand to the bottom of your feet. Keep your knees bent and move your knees toward your armpits. Rock gently from side to side like a happy little baby. While you rock, let your mind tell God about the things and people for which you are thankful. Feel your heart fill with joy.

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