Dashing to Spread Joy


1 Thessalonians 5:16-24


The Christmas message is so great that we cannot keep it to ourselves. It is up to us to share the greatest gift of all. We can all give the gift of hospitality and wrap the invitation in joy to deliver to all we meet. We dash to so many places during the holidays, but maybe we should dash with a specific purpose. The purpose this week is to dash with an invitation for people to be a part of the greatest gift of all. When we share stories of community, people can explore the joy that comes with being a part of a place that welcomes everyone.

Bulletin cover/worship slides:

If you are using our worship resources, use the bulletin cover and worship slides that say, “Sharing the greatest gift of all,” with the image of the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Additional resources here!

Scripture thoughts:

When dealing with Paul’s letters, it is always important to know he wrote them for specific churches with which he was in contact at the time. It is also important to know many of the things he wrote can apply to the church today. In verses 16-18, we get very specific tasks from Paul. To “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances” is great in theory, but not always easy in practice (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Last week, we prepared the way for Christ. Now it is time to get out there and share. In order to do that, we must tap in to the reason we share. Have you seen the commercial for Beats headphones? Riding a bus, Colin Kaepernick is listening to a song to pump himself up for a game. Fans from the opposing team are yelling at him, but all he can hear is his music. The voiceover says, “Hear what you want.” This Scripture is our pump-up song.

“Christian faith embraces the whole of life and is not a matter of moods or ‘giving God his part.’ All of life can be a joyous celebration of the presence of God. This is a matter not of how one feels but of what God has done for us.”(1) This text deals with life in Christian community. Part of our responsibility is to share Christ with others. How can we do that joyously? We cannot be afraid to face the tough crowds out there this holiday season. Let this Scripture be your congregation’s personal noise-canceling headphones. Give your people courage to share Christ.


When you say or hear the word “dash,” you think about getting somewhere in a hurry. Usually you dash with a purpose. The next two weeks are about making haste to do two specific things: inviting and serving. During these weeks, we encourage putting beliefs into action in certain ways. This week focuses on inviting and spreading good news in a specific way. Next week focuses on service in your community. Excitement comes with dashing around. You can put that same type of joy into these next two weeks.

You will see invitation cards for Christmas Eve services in our list of resources here. This is the week to insert the cards in your bulletins or distribute them in your services. Do not just give this task to your congregation. Find ways to add excitement around inviting others. The most powerful way to get someone to be a part of your church is to invite him or her to attend church with you. We help churches with events at Rethink Church. The overwhelming reason people come to events is that a friend or someone in their community told them about it.

Use a personal story this week about the power of invitation. It does not have to involve church. It can be the last time someone invited you to do anything. How did it make you feel? Talk about the last time you invited someone to do something. What was it like to share something with someone else? Invitation is the most powerful form of sharing. You open yourself to let someone into your life. When you attach your faith to that, it makes it even more personal. We all see the value of being a part of a community. We know how the message of Christ has changed our lives. It is not enough just to have the gift of Christ. We should share it with others.

Advent candle reading: Joy

Joy exists in this world and transforms people in great ways. Joy is not about our mood; it is about the gift we received. We have a special message to extend to others. Joy fills this season, so let us make haste. As we light this candle, can we commit to dashing to spread joy around us? 

1  Boring, M. Eugene and Fred B. Craddock. Mark. The People’s New Testament Commentary, 646. Westminster John Knox Press, 2010.

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