Joy of Every Longing Heart

Yesterday during the “announcements” segment of worship, there were comments about upcoming cookie baking, intergenerational Advent crafts, and other such holiday activities. Then a child raised his hand, and when the pastor acknowledged him asked, “Is Christmas about joy?” The pastor thanked him for his question and said that it was a perfect transition to the Children’s Sermon. Other housekeeping items continued during said transition between the announcements and Children’s Sermon, and I wanted to raise my hand and say, “Nobody answered his question.”

Since he happened to be sitting directly in front of me, I leaned forward and whispered in his ear, “Yes! Yes, Christmas is about joy!” As he turned to me and grinned, I almost broke into Go Tell It On The Mountain, but decided to spare him the risk of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to my (lack of) singing abilities.

During the Children’s Sermon, the children stood around the Advent wreath with the pastor as he explained what each candle represents. Then he asked them, candle by candle, what each theme means to them,”What does peace mean to you? What does hope mean to you? What does joy mean to you? What does love mean to you?”

Through their responses, the children preached a beautiful and prophetic Advent sermon,”Hope is something you’re determined to keep doing, peace means no violence, joy is great, and love means everything.”

So long as children continue to believe-and remind adults-that Emmanuel’s birthday brings great joy, God is most certainly with us.

Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee. Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art; dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.~Charles Wesley

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