Joy To The World… The Lord Is Coming

Contributing Writer
Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church, Arcade, NY

The third Sunday in Advent (if you’re keeping track at home) is traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete means rejoice. God is breaking into our world, and that is, above all things, a reason to be joyful.

There’s a little piece of the Christmas story where joy abounds in one of the most unlikely places. Mary, the mother of Jesus, has recently found out she was pregnant, and went with haste to the home of a woman named Elizabeth, who was also with child. When Mary greeted Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s baby jumped within her at the sound. The moment the child in the womb heard the greeting he leapt “for joy” (Luke 1:44).

This is the season for peace, hope, love and joy, but do you know what separates joy from the rest? We pray for peace, hope and love. We pray that God would give us those things and we would be able to return them to him and our neighbor. But joy, in it’s most genuine form, is a spontaneous, involuntary reaction.

My children helped teach me that. Fridays are my special days with my three children It’s my day off and their mother works. All day we spend together playing with toys, watching “tv shows and generally doing things their mother would simply not allow.

We have a blast. But the moment Mommy returns from work I am reminded where I fall in my Children’s world. The moment my wife walks through the door, all three of my children radiate a joy no amount of sugary drinks or acrobatics have been able to muster all day. When Mommy arrives home the sound is our delightful.

Even if we didn’t have a Sunday to remind us, we would not be able to help but rejoice. When Jesus comes, a weary soul and world rejoices. We may have to wait until he’s grown for the message, until he’s dead for the forgiveness, and until he rises again for new life, but the moment he enters our world we get the joy.

So may we sing the Advent hymn with new vigor this joyful season:

JOY TO THE WORLD… THE LORD IS COMING

For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.

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Pastor Shawn is a 2010 graduate of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, and he began his call at Hope Lutheran Church, Arcade NY that summer. While he spent four years learning and serving churches in South and North Carolina, as a Jamestown, NY native, Western New York has always been home. He is glad to be here. Pastor Shawn and his wife Carol Hannon met while attending SUNY Geneseo in the mid-2000s. They have enjoyed making their home together in Arcade with their daughters Quinn and Perry.   Pastor Shawn has a background in youth and outdoor ministry. He is a former camper and staff person at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center in Bemus Point, NY. He has also served camps in urban settings and oversees in Madagascar. In seminary he was recognized for gifts in Greek and New Testament, and in his senior year was recognized with awards in both Preaching and Biblical Studies. Pastor Shawn continues to emphasize the youth in his ministry, but not simply because they are the future church, but because they are the church of today.  He also enjoys working on service projects, and takes the role of planning meaningful and engaging worship seriously.  He loves helping people find ways to put their passion and energy to work making their community and other people’s worlds a better place. When he is not working at church, Shawn enjoys remodeling and construction projects around his family’s home.  But as busy as he gets, PS always has time for a quick nine (okay, 18) on the golf course. He enjoys playing sports of all kinds and fiddling with his guitar.