Our texts for Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent, have to do with JOY! Zephaniah 3: 14-20 is our text from the Hebrew Bible and Philippians 4: 4-7 is from the New Testament. If the Zephania text seems familiar it is likely because it is a part of the text of Handel's Messiah.
Rejoice, Daughter Zion! Shout, Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem.
Notice the imperative here -- one MUST rejoice! And then comes the reasoning for rejoicing...
The LORD has removed your judgment and turned away your enemy. The LORD, the king of Israel is in your midst; you will no longer fear evil... The LORD your God is in your midst -- a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with his love; he will rejoice over you with singing... Watch what I am about to do ... I will deliver the lame; I will gather the outcast. I will change their shame into praise and fame throughout the earth.
So let us rejoice! May we be full of joy this Advent and Christmas -- for God has done great things for us.