advent family devotions - day 16


NEHEMIAH 8:10; ECCLESIASTES 3:4-5: HEBREWS 13:15: PSALM 81:1


The Book of Ecclesiastes tells us, “There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecc.3:1). It continues to explain it is good to weep, mourn, and grieve at times. God also instructs us to laugh, dance, and rejoice!


In Nehemiah, we see Ezra reading from the book of the Law of Moses to the Israelites who had just returned to Jerusalem from captivity. These people had suffered a long time of cruelty and had not been allowed the pleasure of worshipping their God. Ezra even had to translate the holy law to the Israelites because they no longer were familiar with their own Hebrew language after being in Babylon for so long. This was a sacred day, but also a day full of emotion. The people were tempted to despair as they began to think about how much they had missed their homeland, their laws, their language and most of all, their God! But Nehemiah told them not to grieve; but to celebrate this sacred day and enjoy the blessings they now had. God knew His people’s sufferings, He knew their weariness, and He knew what they needed the most at this point in their life-joy! Nehemiah explains, “The joy of the Lord is your strength!” What wonderful words for us to live by as well!


In the New Testament, Hebrews 13:15 confirms the calling of joy upon God’s people. God wants us to continually praise Him, even when we must lay down our hurt, our fears, our pain, and our worries as a sacrifice on the altar of our hearts. Instead of dwelling on our brokenness, God calls us to focus our hearts on Him where we can find the strength to overcome whatever we are facing!

-Marilyn Williams