awaken joy sara thomas

We started a new series over at Transforming Mission, Awaken to God’s Presence. It starts today with Epiphany. We’re reading Scripture, reflecting on a focus word, and responding to a question.

From time to time throughout this series, I’ll offer some reflections on the focus word. The focus word for today is joy.


Today is Epiphany. It is also the day Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas. When the wise guys see the star that was to guide them to Jesus, they experienced one thing: joy!

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. – Matthew 2:10 (ESV)

That sort of repetition points to unmistakable joy. The image that comes to mind for me is the wide-eyed, smiling child that is so happy they could burst. The smile on their face says, joy. Their eyes say joy.  Thier words say joy. Everything they do  – they are overcome with joy.awaken joy sara thomas

What’s Scripture Have to Say?

In the New Testament, the proclamation of the good news of the kingdom of God is accompanied by joy.

  • At Jesus’ birth – the angels announce, good news of great joy –Luke 2:10
  • At the triumphal entry – the people are shouting with joy, “Hosanna!” –Mark 11:9ff
  • Following the resurrection, the first messengers, Mary and Mary Magdelene leave with fear and great joy. –Matthew 28:8
  • In John, Jesus communicates joy. – John 15:11 & 16:24

As a result, joy becomes a relational quality between Jesus and the church. Throughout Acts, it’s hard to move to a new city without encountering an example of joy.

  • Paul and Barnabas are run out of town and still leave in joy – Acts 13:52
  • there is joy at miracles – Acts 8:8
  • people experience joy at conversion – Acts 15:3
  • during a eucharistic meal, there is joy – Acts 2:46

For Paul, three ideas emerge

  • leading people to encounter Jesus brings the community joy – Philippians 2:2
  • the outcome of suffering and sorrow for Christ’s sake – Colossians 1:24
  • a gift of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22

Where did you experience joy today?

The day is far from over, but so far, joy has emerged in the quiet routine of cleaning up the Christmas decorations. While I always feel like the house feels a little naked after the Christmas decorations get put away, I enjoy the simplicity a whole lot more – and that brings me joy.

Whatever today brings, you have the opportunity to share in the joy of Christ. How about you? Where are you experiencing joy today?

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