Isaiah 35:1-10 // James 5:7-10 // Matthew 11:2-11
Joy, the Advent theme today, is a life satisfaction reaction that we all seek. There are two basic types of Joy-artificial and sustainable. Artificial or "manufactured" joy is offered to us all the time in our consumer culture. Everything gets turned into a consumer product. The selling feature is that this through its acquisition, will give you Joy. Sadly, this reaction of Joy does not last. It is fleeting.

Sustainable Joy comes from within. At our pro-creation, we were formed and gifted with unique abilities and traits that as used and understood bring us life-long "Joy". As we mature we come to know these gifts that are inherently ours. We use them, educate them and practice them. God's love alive in all of creation is expressed in the gifts that we have. Some are extroverted in the expression of the gift and others are introverted. No matter what, the gifts are beautiful and equal, to be used and shared in many ways. This using is a ministry which brings meaning and joyfulness.

There is a second aspect to this sustainable joy. That is having great boundaries! It is important to say 'no' to yourself and others. We need to love ourselves, love others and love God. This happens when we care for ourselves and respect others equally when they are in care of their self. "No" is a love word. Sadly, traditional churches have often not followed this concept. As Progressive Christians, we must! When we loose our boundaries, we burnout and our joy gets lost. Sustainable Joy brings Light to the Darkness of this world and energizes our journey with Jesus.