Sunday, December 12th
Light the first and second candles of Hope and Peace, then the third candle of Joy.
I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
my body also rests secure.
For you do not give me up to Sheol,
or let your faithful one see the Pit.
You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:8-11 (NRSV)
Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God. ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
So much of our joy is found in the company we keep, isn’t it? I recall several mission trips with our youth group; the tasks we did were often challenging and miserable, but our joy came from serving others while building friendships with our students and leaders. During our difficult year of serious illness, Jim and I received so much joy from our caring visitors and meal preparers. When my children were young, cleaning up the messes in their playroom became a joyful time of singing songs from Godspell and working together. What could have been miserable moments are now treasured memories.
Our experiences do not necessarily dictate our joy, because joy comes from our attitudes, from the company we keep, and from a variety of other sources. And our greatest source of joy is found in Christ.
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. ~ John 15:9-11 (NRSV)
Light the Christ candle.
Many of us are now familiar with Marie Kondo’s method of tidying or decluttering our homes. We are to pick up one object at a time and ask ourselves, “Does this spark joy?” If we find that the item no longer sparks joy, we then discard or donate it. This philosophy works well for our belongings and homes, but it will not work well for the rest of life. We cannot go through life eliminating everything that does not bring us joy.
Instead, we are blessed to know that we have good company for every moment of our lives, every experience that comes our way. We have the One who not only is our ever-present companion, but our constant and best source of joy. His joy will be in us, and our joy will be complete. This week, let’s carry that radiant joy with us, sparking joy upon everyone we meet.
(A Definition Prayer of Joy)
Renew my gladness and cheerfulness and let your joy shine through me.
Reveal new wonder and delight and let your joy illuminate within me.
Rekindle my jubilance and exuberance and let your joy radiate from me.
Replenish my comfort and refreshment and let your joy overflow beyond me.