Saint Paul speaks of joy today as well: I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you. Where does his joy come from? I'd say it's from seeing God in his fellow Christians. In the four sentences we heard from today from Saint Paul, He spoke of God by name six times. Certainly he was a man whose eyes were fixed on God even as he worked tirelessly in the world to build up the Kingdom.
Finally today we have in the Gospel our patron, Saint John the Baptist, whose life is, according to all four evangelists, the prologue to Jesus' mission. John the Baptist calls us today to put our eyes on God for what He is going to do, not you or I. This is our joy: that God has done great things in Jesus.
Humility, comes into play here. We must remember that truth that it is essentially God's work even if we, like Mary and Joseph, are needed to cooperate alongside the Lord. “Prepare the way of the Lord," as Isaiah also said, means to get ourselves ready for what God wants to do in our lives and respond generously. We all have hopes for the holidays and for what 2016 will bring; hopes for our children or grandchildren; hopes for so many things. Yet these hopes cannot be founded on our plans and our hard work. That is like building a house on sand. Our true and only hope is in the Lord, our maker and redeemer, the solid rock that cannot be moved. Humility is precisely in living from that truth. If we humbly confess our shortcomings and inabilities while we keep our eyes on God and hope in Him, we will find our true joy! And actually we will be most effective in the world. It is when we think too much of ourselves (pride) or too little of ourselves (false humility) that we fail to let God do great things in us. Truly "Sadness is looking at yourself. Joy is looking at God." During Advent, prepare the way of the Lord by practicing daily in your prayer the virtue of humility; that way, you can experience the joy of what God desires to carry out in you.