We’re down to the single digit days until Christmas!! December has flown by — anyone else? If you’re like me, you probably need a little moment to sip coffee/tea and rest for a few. 
This has been an Advent season unlike any other, amen? Our favorite traditions and gatherings together look different for many — Yet I believe we can still make a joyful noise. We can lift up a hallelujah to the coming of our King, no matter where we are right now. When we join together, even if we’re still at home, the Lord is with us! And certainly He hears us! 

Here’s a little story about Joyful Noise Advent calendar. 

When I look back on its creation process, I think about the passages in Luke 9 and John 6 when the disciples brought Jesus a few fish and slices of bread to feed a crowd. They didn’t have much to offer (5 loaves and 2 small fish to be exact) but they gave it all to Him. Then Jesus took the fish and bread and made more than they ever could have done on their own! It was more than enough for the crowd of hungry guests. Scripture says 5,000 men, so including the women and children in the crowd Jesus fed many more than accounted! 
This year, I see a similar thread of faithfulness in Joyful Noise and its small beginning. I started with some verses and a few drawings arranged together into one calendar. I really didn’t know how it would turn out, but I trusted the Lord would send it everywhere He would have it to go. First we only had a handful of orders. Then they kept coming, and coming, until we had a crowd waiting to receive them! Each time we sold out I was absolutely amazed — first of all that we sold out, second of all that we continued making more under a crazy time crunch, and most of all that the Lord showed us a new need to share the joy of Advent with others. It really seemed impossible at times, but God
I share this story with you because we’ve all experienced a mix of hard, surprising, and yes even joyful things in 2020. Our feelings are real and valid — but so is our God. We need to be fed by His Word in the same way Jesus fed the 5,000. This story reminds us He gives us everything we need, even when we come to Him with little in our hands. The point of the story is not what the disciples gave Jesus — but entirely what Jesus did with it in light of the scarcity and great need. Even with little, Jesus gave thanks to God and fed everyone abundantly.
Scarcity has a way of showing us how much we crave nourishment from the Lord. Without knowing true suffering and need, how can we experience the richness of true joy and fulfillment? The eternal glory we have with Jesus far outweighs every struggle we experience. (2 Cor. 4:17) He is our living hope (1 Peter 1:3); our light in darkness (John 8:12), our bread of life (John 6:35).
Jesus shows us real suffering — complete darkness on a hill where all hope seemed lost. But heaven wasn’t finished yet when we took His last breath. Friend, wherever you are now — heaven is not finished with you either. As Psalm 30:5 says, "weeping may last for the night, but JOY comes in the morning." Yes, joy came in the morning with an empty tomb. His pain to the point of death brought new life through resurrection three days later. Psalm 126:5 says “Let those who plant with tears reap the harvest with joyful shouts.” The seeds we plant in sorrow today are watered with our tears and sustained by the Spirit. Our troubles today will not last forever. Gospel means good news and tells us victory is already won in Jesus. We have much reason to make a joyful noise.

May we be Advent people — lifting our voices together with a joyful noise as we wait for the coming of our King.

Just as the wisemen followed the star that led to Jesus — the Savior they had long awaited — so we wait for the Light of the world to return to us. And we wait in hope, faith, prayer, peace, and joy because God is true to His promises. Sorrow may weigh down our darkest nights, but joy comes in the morning. May it be so.

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