Third Sunday of Advent 2020

Jeremiah 31

Third Sunday of Advent 2020

JOY: Grace Found in the Wilderness

I. A Story of EXILE and RETURN
A. From SLAVE to FAMILY Jer. 31:1, 9, 20, 22
B. From TORN DOWN to REBUILT v. 4, 12, 28
C. From SORROW to JOY v. 13, 25

II. The CONTEXT of Joy v. 10-14
A. It’s not mere HAPPINESS v. 8-9, 12; John 15:11, 2 Cor. 6:10
B. An IDENTITY Change v. 1, 4, 2 Cor. 5:17
C. A RELATIONAL Experience v. 2-3, 9, 20, 22
D. An Experience of the GOOD v. 12, 17, 25, Mt. 6:10

III. GOOD NEWS that Brings GREAT JOY Luke 2:10
A. God Comes to KNOW and be KNOWN John 1:14, 17:3
B. God Comes to CHANGE our STORY Col. 3:3, Gal. 2:20, Phil. 3:8-11
C. God Comes to BRING us HOME Jer. 31:8-9, 21-22, 24-25, Luke 15

Questions for Further Reflection:

  1. Kid’s Question: What is the happiest you have ever been?
  2. What would you say is the central story of the Bible?
  3. What experiences of Exile have you had in the last year?
  4. What are the differences between Joy and Happiness?
  5. Think about a time when you experienced fleeting happiness. Now think of a time when you experienced unexpected joy.
  6. What experiences in your life have changed you the most? Has there been any joy associated with those events?
  7. In your mind, what is “The Good Life”?
  8. What would “God coming” look like in your life right now?

In the Gospel of John, Jesus sums up pretty much everything by saying, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). He said it at the supper that he knew was the last one at which he’d have a mouth to eat with.

“Happiness turns up more or less where you’d expect it to-a good marriage, a rewarding job, a pleasant vacation. Joy, on the other hand, is as notoriously unpredictable as the one who bequeaths it.”
~ Frederick Buechner