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Advent Devotional, Joy, Janet Lanza

Advent blessings! Finals are over, the sun is out, we are finally thawing out, joy is in the air!
This week we enter into the advent theme of joy.  In the midst of the dark and cold of winter we remember that joy is coming!  Today’s devotional is written by  Janet Lanza.  Janet bleeds purple.  She is an alumni of TCU having received her bachelors and masters degree’s here.  She has served on faculty at TCU since 1989 leading Clinical Supervision for the Early Childhood Speech and Language Program at the Miller Speech and Hearing Clinic and writing and leading presentations on early childhood speech and language.  Janet plans to retire from TCU this May.
Janet is an incredible speech pathologist, active leader in her church, and amazing gardener and cook.  I know her best as my mom!  You could not ask for a better mother.  Throughout my life she has been the hands and feet of God for me and shown me what God’s love looks like.  I love watching as she shares her gifts of hospitality with students, friends, and strangers. When you are around my mom, whoever you are, you feel loved, welcomed, and fed! The joy of God shines through her! I pray that joy overflows you!
God’s joy to you, Allison
An Advent Devotional, by Janet Lanza
Philippians 4:8   Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.        
I cannot think of a greater joy than the moment of the birth of a child. Having the privilege to experience that pure, unbridled emotion on the birthdays of each of our two children is a moment I will treasure always and never forget.  I suppose that’s one reason God sent His son to us in the form of a brand new baby.  Such JOY!  Such amazement! So many possibilities!
During this contemplative Advent season of waiting and preparing, God also allows us to unleash our emotions and experience JOY.  We are surrounded by the joy in the twinkling lights, in the smiles of strangers and in the excitement of children.
I assumed I would refer to a traditional Christmas scripture from the Gospels when writing this devotional.  However, Philippians 4:8, one of my favorite scriptures kept coming back to me. In it, Paul reminds us to look for the honorable, the lovely, the just, the commendable and to think about those things.  I believe that every single one of us is a child of God. Imagine how happy God will be if we spend this Advent season looking for and pointing out the good in and to everyone we meet.  I believe that’s just what Jesus did and He certainly brought JOY to the world!
So I challenge each of us as we prepare for Christmas not to dwell on the stress, busyness and consumerism of the season.  Instead, look for whatever is just and honorable and worthy of praise. With our cups way more than half full and overflowing with this precious gift of God, let us share and experience JOY.
God of Love and Grace and Wonderful Surprises, Thank you for your awesome gift of the Christ child.  We pray that you will help us spend these days of Advent discovering, experiencing and sharing the joy found in you.  Amen


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