Martin Copenhaver: Rejoice! Again I say, Rejoice!

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice." - Philippians 4:4-7

The call to rejoice is a common theme in scripture. Over and over we are instructed to rejoice and, indeed, commanded to rejoice. Obviously, someone thinks this rejoicing business is pretty important.

It's interesting that these injunctions to rejoice are offered in passages of scripture associated with Advent and Christmas. Is that because this is a season when we rejoice so fully and naturally? If that were the case, then why would we need the command to rejoice? That would be like commanding someone to smile when she feels happy.

My hunch is that those who suggested these texts for this time of year were wiser than that. It seems to me that many of us need to be told to rejoice in this season perhaps more than in others. After all, it is a dark time-in the world without, to be sure, but sometimes in the world within, as well.

We are reminded to rejoice, not because this is a bright time, but because it is dark, and yet, even here, in the darkness, the light of the world has come.

And that is cause for great rejoicing, indeed.


God, when we are reluctant or unable to rejoice, give us a holy nudge and a reminder:  this is the time for rejoicing. Amen.

Taken with permission from UCC's StillSpeaking devotional.Visit