As I look over our Advent wreath, I see that the next candle to be lit is the pink one. Not all observers of Advent have the pink candle, but we do. This pink one represents Joy. However, I am hesitant to light it.
This time of year is supposed to be joyous. We are looking forward to seeing family and friends. We are anxiously awaiting the proper time to give and receive gifts. Children are waiting for the jingle of sleighbells as Santa and the elves fulfill their dreams. This is to be a joyous occasion.
But tell that to the mother whose child was buried, or to the wife who lost her husband. How do you share joy with someone who has no hope of a meal today, let alone on Christmas day? We see these beautiful pictures of perfect families celebrating perfect Christmases and yet for many this isn’t even a fairytale. It is a myth.
Yet here staring at me is a pink candle to symbolize JOY. What do we do?
WE START CHANGING THE NARRATIVE! Yes, I said WE. Christ has blessed all of us with the responsibility of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. He has called us to go and bring JOY to the world. Just like his birth did so long ago.
We have become people of presents and feasts. We should be a people of Hope, Peace, and Joy. We need to be about bringing joy to the lives of everyone around us. To the homeless, a home. To the hungry, food. To the unemployed, work. To the outcast, family.
BUT: We need to make sure we are bringing joy 365+ days a year.
Look folks; No child should be hungry or cold EVER. People should not be living in fear of where their next place to sleep will be. In fact, no one should be living in fear.
The only way to change things is to make sure people know Christ. Joy comes in loving our neighbor enough to tell them about Christ Jesus. See the pattern.
Right now, we are polishing up the ornaments and making sure the bulbs all work on the tree. The choirs are getting tuned up and the children of the church are practicing the play. But what about those who don’t have ornaments, or a home, or a church? What about those who have just suffered a horrific loss? What about those who have lost any hope in being Joyful.
We need to find them. We need to go get them, and we need to show them Christ. Whether it takes food, shelter, warm clothes, or a shoulder to cry on, we need to share Christ.
We can all light that pink candle together, if we only start loving our neighbor enough to change the world. That’s what Christ did, and that is how to rejoice.
See you in church.
Rev. Kent Wilfong is the pastor at the United Methodist Church, Doniphan/Neelyville.