This Sunday’s reading by the prophet Isaiah was written for people whose lives were very difficult. These people, the Israelites, had been driven from their homeland by a mean ruler and forced to live in a country they did not know. There the Israelites were treated as slaves. They were forced to work for cruel leaders and were unable to leave. It was a shocking and scary time for the people. Isaiah’s words gave the people a reason to stay hopeful. Isaiah reminded the people that God had not forgotten them. God was sending a saviour to put right the wrongs that had been committed against the people. God loved the people and wanted them to feel joyful again, to feel joyful forever! As we heard in our introduction, joy is a feeling we get when we know we are loved and cared for, and when we love and care for others. That’s why we can feel joy even when life is difficult. This joyful feeling, of being loved and loving others, is much greater than the happiness we feel when we get something like a new toy. Happy feelings usually last for a short while, but the feeling of joy stays with us much longer. There are things we can do to help.
The first thing is to be thankful for all the gifts we receive. Not just the toys; but also the food we eat, the home we live in, and our family and friends.
The second thing is to share the love of God and the Good News of Jesus. Some ways we can do this are by being generous with what we have, caring for all God’s children, and looking after the world God has
given to us.
The third way we can feel joy in our hearts all the time is through prayer. Prayer helps us to stay close to God and His Son, Jesus. By staying close we remember that we are loved by them and that we love God and Jesus too.
Prayer is also a way we show love for others, as we remember their needs and ask God to help us help them.