The Fourth Advent Sunday: Celebrating the mystery of God’s love On the fourth Sunday of Advent we light the candle of Joy. On this day we remember that when the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would give birth to God’s son she was filled with joy. She praised God singing: "My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.” (Luke 1:46 – 47) Just as the birth of Jesus gave great joy to Mary, so His coming into the world gives great joy to us today. The gospel reading for the fourth Sunday of Advent, Matthew 1:18-24 helps us to understand Jesus’ identity. Two names are given to Him: Jesus because he will save people from their sins (v.21), and Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us’ (v.23). These names reveal that God’s presence amongst us is experienced most profoundly in the forgiveness of our sins. In this supreme mystery we see how the joy of Christmas points to the triumph of life over death at Easter. God with us (Emmanuel) has come amongst us not to condemn us but to save us (Jesus). The mystery of Jesus’ birth is a mystery of love. A newborn baby boy in a manger calls forth from our hearts love. In fact, the language of God at Christmas is one of love. And, our vocation as those who serve in His name is to continue to learn and to speak the language of love. From hope, peace, and love grows joy. Find out how Steve serves his home town with joy: We light the candle of Joy to remind us that when we welcome Jesus in our lives, in our churches and in our local communities we have joy. Joy is like a light shining in a dark place. As we look at the candles of Advent let us celebrate together the joy we find in Jesus Christ.