It’s challenging to talk about joy during the seasons of Advent and Christmas. The seasons themselves seem to magnify all the reasons not to be joyful. And yet we’re bombarded by advertising about how happy we should be. Some of you are probably already experiencing happiness fatigue. Maybe you’re suspicious of joy talk and joy-talkers.
Advent joy isn’t glib positivity. It’s something more, something deeper. One theologian described joy as “an act of resistance against despair and its forces.” Advent joy doesn’t deny the pain of life in a broken world; joy protests it. Advent joy refuses pain’s invitation to succumb to despair.
In this Advent sermon on Isaiah 61:1–11, Ryan explores three reasons we can have a joy that resists the forces of despair.
This sermon was preached originally on December 17, 2023 at Grace Bible Church in Escondido, California.