You are our Glory and Joy (1 Thessalonians 2:20)

The joy of Fall

There is something beautiful about every season. They each bring glory and joy in their own way. In the Spring everything is new and the first buds of flowers begin to bloom. In the Summer, there is long days, vacations, beaches and lots of warm sunshine. Many experience snow in the winter or at least all the beautiful Christmas lights. But Fall is one of the most beautiful seasons with the leaves changing colors.

If you don’t live in Florida like we do, then you’re probably seeing some cooler temperatures and changing leaves. We are too, its only in the 80s for a high rather upper 90s. Then there is all the pumpkins spice flavored everything that comes out. Last year, I even saw Pumpkin Spice Special K cereal in the store. I’m not a fan of anything pumpkin flavored personally, but I love the smell of a good fall pumpkin scented candle.

Fall means the holidays are just around the corner

Fall also ushers in the excitement of the upcoming holidays. I love the holidays. There is so much glory and joy in them. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the glory and joy we have in Christ and all that God does for us. Christmas is all about celebrating the glory and joy of the birth of our Savior. To me Christmas is the best of all the holidays.

Family, Friends, and Holidays

I have always lived closed to my family and family is a big part of our holidays. Thanksgiving includes a pot-luck dinner with aunts, uncles, cousins and whoever they bring with them – it’s usually a big crowd. Christmas includes my sisters, mom, kids, nieces and nephews, and one grandkid. One of the biggest joys of the holidays for me is being with family. But we also have family that live out of state and we only see them once every few years. My sister-in-law has become my best friend and I love her kids as if they were my own. But in 15 years of being part of Brian’s family, we’ve yet to coordinate everyone together so that we can do the holidays together — one day we will!

Who are you missing?

Not only do Brian and I miss Shari and her kids at the holidays, this year my our family, we will be missing two from around our dinner table. My nephew joined the Air Force last year and is now stationed overseas. His youngest brother, Kelly, is currently at boot camp for the Marines. He will graduate in less than a month but then he’s headed out for training. And with COVID restrictions, my sister doesn’t know yet if she will get to attend his graduation. She may not get to see him at all before he is shipped off to the other side of the country.

So, we added something new to our holidays last year – Facetime with Blake. Hopefully, we will get to Facetime with Kelly too this year. I think about my younger sister (Blake and Kelly’s mom) who is experiencing the holidays with two of her four children not at home. For her, holidays are now mixed with joy, but also missing these two sons who we are all so very proud of.

Paul also missed people

Paul understood missing people he cared about. In 1 Thessalonians 2:20, Paul had a great desire to see the Thessalonicans again. In Acts 17:8-10, we learn that the Thessalonicans had to send Paul and Silas away quickly at night due to persecution that broke out. Since that time, Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 2, that he wanted to come back to them time and time again, but Satan hindered him. To Paul, this group of Christians represented his hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing.

Even though they had been able to help Paul and Silas secretly escape the persecution, they remained in the midst of it and continued to suffer after Paul and Silas were gone. Yet they remained fast to their faith and served God out love.

Do you ever wondered if Paul felt guilty to be away from the persecution while his friends were still there experiencing it? Paul may have escaped it from there, but pretty much wherever he went Paul experienced persecution for the Gospel. He understood what they were going through.

Paul wrote a letter to his friends

For this reason, Paul longed to see them again – to encourage them. Instead, he had to settle for sending a letter. Simply put, Paul missed them, just as we miss our loved one when we are separated from them. In his letter to them, he wrote: “For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy!”

Are you Jesus’ Glory and joy?

Today, Jesus is sitting in heaven watching His church. Some take the religious freedoms we have lightly while others live daily in fear of being discovered. We know that Jesus is coming again, but even Jesus does not know the time that His Father will say, “Son, go get my children.” Do you ever stop to wonder if Jesus longs to be with us? Just as Paul sent a letter to the Thessalonicans, Jesus left us with a letter. It’s called the Bible. Do you ever wonder if as Jesus is talking with His father does He say of us, “Look father! [Insert your name] is my glory and joy!” Would He be able to say that how we live for Him represents His hope, joy, and crown of boasting?

What about us? Do we say the same thing about Jesus? Could we look our a friends and family and say, “Jesus is my glory and joy?” How would you be able to tell someone  about the joy and glory that Jesus brings to your life?

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