‘Be happy at all times; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks to God because this is what God expects you to do in Christ Jesus’ (I Thess 5: 16-17)
My dear friends, the third Sunday of Advent is a joyful Sunday, and the second reading is very comforting. It is consoling over the sufferings, the pains of hearts, the unbearable situations and mental distress we are passing through, and I believe God is speaking to you and I in a unique and personal way. Knowing about everything, he is looking directly into our eyes and simply saying through the Apostle Paul: ‘be happy at all times’ (I Thess 5: 16). He said it twice to demonstrate the importance of what is expected of us.
Being happy is in fact what we need at this difficult time. We cannot allow our burdens to take away our happiness and joy. We must be courageous and not succumb to our problems. And that is what Jesus is addressing when he invites us to be happy. He does not want us to allow our fears, anxieties and struggles to weigh us down. He wants us to accept them with courage and be hopeful that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, because he will always be there to lead us through the dark moments in our lives. He wants us to replace hatred with love; despair with hope; doubt with faith; sadness with joy; and never allow anything to take away the joy we feel because our Saviour, the Son of man is closer to us than we can ever imagine. His coming at the appointed time will end every suffering and we shall be at peace with him in its fullness. We should therefore not miss this opportunity of enjoying ourselves at this time.
Challenges will come and go but we will remain unconquered because they are for our sanctification, and before we know it the former challenges have passed on. We are healed in the wounds of Christ because he who is in you and I has redeemed us and is greater than the challenges and storms of our lives. He wants us to offer them in prayer and leave the rest for him. Hence, he says: ‘come to me all you who labour and are overburdened, I will give you rest. Shoulder your yoke and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls’ (Mt 11: 28 -29). Always be assured that He who has called you will not allow you to fail for his love is all over you. Believe you me, he loves and cares for you and wants you to be happy irrespective of challenges. Put on a smiling face, move on and be happy. Enjoy the beautiful Christmas songs and know that Jesus loves you like no other. Take courage and be happy!
Let us pray:
O Lord, you know the anguish of the sorrowful, the pains and sufferings of your people. Look kindly upon those who suffer and grant them your unfailing help and relief. Calm the storm of our nerves and encourage them in hope. May the coming festivities and celebration of your birthday inspire them with that inner joy which only you can give. May you grant healing to all troubled hearts at this time. We make our prayer through Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.