December 15, 2023

Advent Week Three: The Candle of Joy

A devotional for the third week of Advent

by Lorie Huneycutt

An Invitation

Come before the Lord in a posture of humility. He delights in you. Let’s delight in Him. Whether you open your hands as a sign of obedience, close your eyes to focus your mind, or kneel to center your heart, draw close to Him as He draws close to you (James 4:8).

Let’s give all of ourselves to the King of Kings.


Matthew 2: 1–12; Luke 2:8–20; Romans 5:1–; Colossians 1:9–14; 1 Peter 1:3–9

Joy is light, love, and full of hope of what is to come. And yet, the fullness of joy would not be what it is without the existence of darkness, sin, and suffering. Our loving Father, in His grace and love, sent His Son in human form through many rich allegories that I am sure were no mistake. He allowed Christ, our King, to be born in the darkness of night. Had He not been born at night, God could not have used light to show others the way.

Without darkness, the angel that appeared to the shepherds and the glory that shone around them would not have shone as brightly. Because of the darkness of night, he was able to use the light of a star that shone so brilliantly—it led the wisemen straight to Jesus. Joy is something we often want without sacrifice, suffering, or work. We can feel that we are entitled to joy simply because we follow Jesus. And yet, truly following Jesus and suffering with Him as we endure various trials here on earth is often the path we must take to find the joy we seek.

It is His redemption in our pain, the renewing of our hearts, and shifting of our gaze to focus on the light of Jesus that will lead us to the unspeakable joy we seek. The more we surrender, the more we will be able to recognize the love and light of Jesus, His redemption and healing, in ways beyond our comprehension. The darkness of this world serves as a backdrop for His light to be seen in all its brilliance. And when we can find the light in the darkest of nights, it is there that our hearts will find true joy and hope in knowing that there is nothing that can overcome the light and love of Jesus.

Prayer Prompt

Read Psalm 145 and prepare your heart to praise Him.

What is an obstacle you face in finding true joy, and how does joy differ from happiness? What moments or experiences of darkness in your life can you look back on and see where Jesus showed up in light?

Jesus, thank You for the beautiful ways You redeem pain and darkness and bring joy in unexpected ways. If there are things I need to surrender that may be preventing joy in my life, would You reveal those to me. I give all I am to You. Allow me to experience more of Your hope and joy. Amen.

To download a copy of Extend Hope: An Advent Guide, click here.