Good morning! Our final advent devotional for this year comes to us from Dr. Clark Jones. Dr. Jones serves as a Senior Instructor in the College of Science & Engineering, and is undoubtedly familiar to many of you. He also has the honor of being the son of Mary Ruth Jones, a long time employee of the University and a beloved member of our community. Dr. Jones’ devotional today is a testament to not only his faith, but also his deep love for his mother. I hope his words for us today will not only inspire JOY in our hearts and minds, but prompt us to pray for Mary Ruth and others around us who might need our prayerful support today and the days to come.
Thank you for joining us during this advent season by reading these thoughtful devotionals that have been written by our own students, faculty, and staff. I hope they have been a good companion for you during this season. May you have a very Merry Christmas and a restful winter break with those you love and hold most dear. Blessings to you…
” An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”
Joy to the World! “I’m struggling in my classes.” “I’m stressed out about money and the economy.” “I don’t fit in here”. It seems very easy to talk about our lives, the news, and the world in terms of despair, unhappiness, and misery. So where do we find joy?
Three weeks ago, my mother was taken to the hospital due to hypothermia after being outside for five hours on the night of the first Fort Worth freeze. In addition to the hypothermia, she lost mobility of her writing and dominant hand, putting havoc on a body already suffering from severe scoliosis. During the hospital stay, an extremely weak heart condition was diagnosed for the first time. Weeks to live…despair, confusion, concern. So where do we find joy?
Joy can be found if one is willing to push aside the pain and disbelief. Joy was found when a little neighbor girl a few houses down miraculously heard screams in the early hours of the morning and woke her parents to call an ambulance to save a life that wouldn’t have survived another hour in the freezing cold temperatures. Joy was found when the emergency department physicians diagnosed a heart issue that might have led to death in a few weeks without the intervention of medication and a pacemaker. Joy was found with the hope for another ten years of life. Joy was found with the nurses and therapists who worked around the clock in the hospital, the rehab center, and back at home to help her to walk and regain the use of her hand. Joy was found when her favorite restaurant, Old Neighborhood Grill, sent flowers and posted a sign in their restaurant to let the patrons know of her recovery. Joy was found when the TCU football team won games that lifted her spirits. Joy was found when her community at TCU, University Christian Church, and her neighbors visited, cooked, and provided her hope and comfort.
Oh tidings of comfort and joy. Comfort and joy. Oh tidings of comfort and joy. In this holiday season, may you find the miracle of joy that surrounds us all. Joy to the World!
Let us pray.
God, in the midst of difficult and trying times, remind us that we are not alone. Help us to see Your presence all around us in both likely and unlikely places – places where we feel truly seen, heard, and cared for. In doing so, may we experience the blessing of Your comfort and JOY. Amen.