final_advent_cover4.jpgThe kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Luke 13:44 (NIV)

As a teacher and a mother, I love to see when kids get it. That light-bulb moment when they understand a concept or when my son discovers something new. You can literally see their minds work, and then their faces light up with excitement. What a joy to discover something new!

One of the most popular and well-known Christmas carols is “Joy to the World.” If you can remember the second line, you realize that the source of that joy is “the Lord has come.” There are several Scripture verses that relate joy to some discovery of Christ. Even before Christ was born, John the Baptist “leaped for joy” in his mother’s womb upon Mary’s greeting (Luke 1:44). The angels revealed the great joy of Christ’s birth to the shepherds (Luke 2:10). Finally, Mary and the disciples were filled with joy upon the discovery of His resurrection (Matthew 28:8 and Luke 10:21).

The Greek word for “joy” most often used in the New Testament is chara. It should not be missed that the Greek word for “grace” is charis. They are closely connected. It is as if God is saying if we only understood, or discovered, what grace is all about, we couldn’t help but rejoice!

One of the hardest verses to face in the Bible is James 1:2. You know, the one telling us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds. I don’t know about you, but I find it difficult to find joy in struggles. However, with a bit of distance, I can usually look back and see how that trial was used to show me more of God’s character or to make me more dependent upon Him. The struggle itself rarely seems joyful, but the end result should be celebrated. I love that joy is not reserved for birthday parties and holidays, but that Christ is meant to be discovered even on our worst days.

If we want to experience more joy this season, we must discover more of Christ. We must seek to understand this amazing grace He has given to us and even to seek out these same discoveries amidst our struggles.

Father, let me discover more of you. Let me enjoy learning and seeking your character this Advent season.

What can you do to discover Christ? Are you going through a trial where it is hard to feel joyful? Try to look ahead and see how God is using that trail to glorify His Kingdom.