An Advent Reflection
The theme of the second week of Advent in our parish is “The Promise of Joy” from last Sunday’s readings. Today’s advent verse is from Today’s advent verse is from Jesus’ farewell discourse in John.
“I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you,
and that your joy may be complete.” — John 15:11
‘Complete’ doesn’t quite catch the richness of the word it translates. It is the word routinely used for scripture being ‘fulfilled’. It is used for a net full of fish, of the young Jesus “filled with wisdom”, of the friend of the groom filled with joy at the bridegroom’s voice. The house where Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with a perfumed oil was filled with its fragrance. And believers are urged not to get drunk on wine but “be filled with the Spirit”.
This verse is part of the section where Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches,” and urged us to “abide in me as I abide in you.” And this is not the only time in John’s Gospel where we hear this message. In Jesus’ high priestly prayer he declares “I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” (John 17:13 NIV)
The words of Jesus are intended to fill us with the joy that fills the heart of God. Such words take us back to the creation story where again and again God exults over the beauty and perfection of his creation. And again and again in scripture the creation exults in the glory of God. This is the joy in which we are to abide. This is the joy that is meant to completely fill us. This is the joy that is meant to overflow from us.